Volume 6 - Number 3 | November

Influence of risk propensity, behavioural biases and demographic factors on equity investors' risk perception

Rangapriya Saivasan, and Madhavi Lokhande


Investor risk perception is a personalized judgement on the uncertainty of returns pertaining to a financial instrument. This study identifies key psychological and demographic factors that influence risk perception. It also unravels the complex relationship between demographic attributes and investor's risk attitude towards equity investment.
Exploratory factor analysis is used to identify factors that define investor risk perception. Multiple regression is used to assess the relationship between demographic traits and factor groups. Kruskal–Wallis test is used to ascertain whether the factors extracted differ across demographic categories. A risk perception framework based on these findings is developed to provide deeper insight.
There is evidence of the relationship and influence of demographic factors on risk propensity and behavioural bias. From this study, it is apparent that return expectation, time horizon and loss aversion, which define the risk propensity construct, vary significantly based on demographic traits. Familiarity, overconfidence, anchoring and experiential biases which define the behavioural bias construct differ across demographic categories. These factors influence the risk perception of an individual with respect to equity investments.
Research limitations/implications
The reference for the framework of this study is limited as there has been no precedence of similar work in academia.
Practical implications
This paper establishes that information seekers make rational decisions. The paper iterates the need for portfolio managers to develop and align investment strategies after evaluation of investors' risk by including these behavioural factors, this can particularly be advantageous during extreme volatility in markets that concedes the possibility of irrational decision making.
Social implications
This study highlights that regulators need to acknowledge the investor's affective, cognitive and demographic impact on equity markets and align risk control measures that are conducive to market evolution. It also creates awareness among market participants that psychological factors and behavioural biases can have an impact on investment decisions.
This is the only study that looks at a three-dimensional perspective of the investor risk perception framework. The study presents the relationship between risk propensity, behavioural bias and demographic factors in the backdrop of “information” being the mediating variable. This paper covers five characteristics of risk propensity and eight behavioural biases, such a vast coverage has not been attempted within the academic realm earlier with the aforesaid perspective.


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