Inspired by the recent health science findings that air pollution affects mental health and cognition, we examine whether air pollution can intensify the cognitive bias observed in the financial markets. Based on a proprietary data set obtained from a large Chinese mutual fund family consisting of complete trading information for more than 773,198 accounts in 247 cities, we find that air pollution significantly increases investors’ disposition effects. Analysis based on two plausible exogenous variations in air quality (the vast dissipation of air pollution caused by strong winds and the Huai River policy) supports a causal interpretation. Mood regulation provides a potential mechanism.
- Ph.D., National University of Singapore
- B.S., University of Science and Technology of China
Dr. Zhang joined The University of Hong Kong (HKU) as an assistant professor at the HKU Business School in 2020. Prior to that, he was an assistant professor of finance at Hong Kong Baptist University.
His areas of interest include Household Finance, Behavioral Finance, Financial Institutions, and Corporate Finance. His research has been published in major economics and finance journals, including Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, Management Science, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Review of Finance and Journal of Financial Intermediation.
- “Investing in Low-Trust Countries: On the Role of Social Trust in the Global Mutual Fund Industry” (with M. Massa, C. Wang and H. Zhang), Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, 57(1), 2022, 240-290.
- “Interest Rate Pass-Through and Consumption Response: The Deposit Channel” (with S. Agarwal, S. Chomsisengphet, and Y. Yildirim), Review of Economics and Statistics, 103(5), 2021, 922-938.
- “Air Pollution, Behavioral Bias, and the Disposition Effect in China” (with J. Li, M. Massa and H. Zhang), Journal of Financial Economics, 142(2), 2021, 641-673.
- “Good Days, Bad Days: Stock Market Fluctuation and Taxi Tipping Decisions” (with W. Tan), Management Science, 67(6), 2021, 3965-3984.
- “Disguised Corruption: Evidence from Consumer Credit in China” (with S. Agarwal, W. Qian and A. Seru), Journal of Financial Economics, 137(2), 2020, 430-450.
- “Gender Gap in Personal Bankruptcy Risks: Empirical Evidence from Singapore” (with S. Agarwal, J. He and T. Sing), Review of Finance, 22(2), 2018, 813-847.
- “Gender Difference and Intra-Household Economic Power in Mortgage Signing Order” (with S. Agarwal, R. Green, E. Rosenblatt, and V. Yao), Journal of Financial Intermediation, 36, 2018, 86-100.
Using a comprehensive sample of credit card data from a leading Chinese bank, we show that government bureaucrats receive 16% higher credit lines than non-bureaucrats with similar income and demographics, but their accounts experience a significantly higher likelihood of delinquency and debt forgiveness. Regions associated with greater credit provision to bureaucrats open more branches and receive more deposits from the local government. After staggered corruption crackdowns of provincial-level political officials, the new credit cards originated to bureaucrats in exposed regions do not enjoy a credit line premium, and bureaucrats’ delinquency and reinstatement rates are similar to those of non-bureaucrats.