Staff Reports
Trading by Professional Traders: An Experiment
Number 939
August 2020

JEL classification: C93, G11, G14

Authors: Marco Cipriani, Roberta De Filippis, Antonio Guarino, and Ryan Kendall

We examine how professional traders behave in two financial market experiments; we contrast professional traders’ behavior to that of undergraduate students, the typical experimental subject pool. In our first experiment, both sets of participants trade an asset over multiple periods after receiving private information about its value. Second, participants play the Guessing Game. Finally, they play a novel, individual-level version of the Guessing Game and we collect data on their cognitive abilities, risk preferences, and confidence levels. We find three differences between traders and students: Traders do not generate the price bubbles observed in previous studies with student subjects; traders aggregate private information better; and traders show higher levels of strategic sophistication in the Guessing Game. Rather than reflecting differences in cognitive abilities or other individual characteristics, these results point to the impact of traders’ on-the-job learning and traders’ beliefs about their peers’ strategic sophistication.

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AUTHOR DISCLOSURE STATEMENT(S)
Marco Cipriani
The author declares that he has no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper. Prior to circulation, this paper was reviewed in accordance with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York review policy, available at https://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/index.html.

Roberta De Filippis
The author declares that she has no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper. Prior to circulation, this paper was reviewed in accordance with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York review policy, available at https://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/index.html.

Antonio Guarino
The author declares that he has no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper. Prior to circulation, this paper was reviewed in accordance with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York review policy, available at https://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/index.html.

Ryan Kendall
This project was conducted under UCL’s Module Ethical Approval #12439/001.

The author declares that he has no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper. Prior to circulation, this paper was reviewed in accordance with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York review policy, available at https://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/index.html.