The seminar is open to Bachelor students only. Allocation of topics starts on 08.02.2011 at 6.00 p.m. among the students present at that time. Arriving earlier does not increase your chances of getting allocated a topic. If you are unable to come, you can send us an email with your preferences (state three topics). Students sending email requests and students arriving later will be allocated a topic as long as there are free places in the seminar.

To successfully pass the seminar you need to write a paper and give a presentation. Papers can be written in either German or English and should be of 15-20 pages as a team of two or 10-15 pages if you are working alone. For hints how to write a paper see our guidelines. You need to hand in a printed version and also a digital one (*.pdf/ *.doc/ *.docx). The seminar talks can be in German, when all participants understand German. Otherwise they will be held in English. As a team you will have to present around 45 minutes. If you work alone, it will be 30 minutes.

Your paper and your presentation will be graded and lead to one grade (equally weighted). Therefore you have to register until 30.04.2011 for the seminar at the Higher Educations Services Portal!

For each topic, you should provide a literature survey (here you should consider more than your intro-paper) and maybe you will also have to work on a practical part in which you should get familiar with empirical analysis (accessing data over Datastream or Bloomberg, performing quantitative analyses or collect data via surveys). If you choose one of these topics you should know how to use Excel and/or other data analysis tools.

Some weeks after the allocation and before your presentation your supervisor will arrange meetings to discuss your literature and your paper's outline. So you can assure yourself on not missing the point.

Time Table

DateTimeLocationEvent pmTrading RoomAllocation of Seminar Topics
11.-15.04.At the latest: Meeting with Supervisor
30.04.Deadline for Registration pmDeadline for Submission of Seminar Paper
20.-21.05.SPK Ulm/ UniSeminar Presentations


1. Investment Behavior of Retail Investors
You shall summarize empirical findings on the trading behavior and performance of retail investors. The observed findings shall be linked to behavioral patterns known from psychological research (e.g. overconfidence)

Literature for getting started: Barber, B. M./ Odean T. (2000), Trading is hazardous to your wealth: The common stock investment performance of individual investors

Supervisor: Gunter Löffler
Student(s): Chong Lee Yen and Bojana Trivunovic

2. Understanding Emotions and (Ir)Rationality in Investing: Insights from Brain Science
You shall summarize findings on the role of emotions and rationality in investing that are made possible through brain science. By identifying which parts of the brain are active in certain decisions, we can learn more about the forces behind investment decisions.

Literature for getting started: Shiv B. et al. (2006), Investment behavior and the negative side of emotion

Supervisor: Matthias Böhm
Student(s): Vyacheslav Satanovskyy and Konstantinos Zafriadis

3. Home Bias in Investment Decisions
You shall summarize the literature on the home bias, which refers to the tendency of investors to overweight domestic stocks relative to international stocks and local stocks relative to other, more distant domestic stocks. Possible psychological foundations shall be discussed.

Literature for getting started: Coval J. D./ Moskowitz T. J. (1999), Home bias at home: Local equity preference in domestic portfolios

Supervisor: Gunter Löffler
Student(s): Nicholas Scharr

4. Behavioral Corporate Finance
Are managers subject to biases just like individual investors? And do such biases impact corporate decision making? In this paper you shall summarize the literature on corporate decision making from a behavioral perspective.

Literature for getting started: Ben-David, I./ Graham, J. R./ Harvey, C. R. (2007), Managerial Overconfidence and Corporate Policies

Supervisor: Gunter Löffler
Student(s): Takyiwaa Donkor and Ayukonchong Agborndip

5. Using Sentiment to predict Stock Returns
Discuss the results of Baker and Wurgler (2007). Review other relevant literature that deal with investors’ sentiment in the stock market. Do an empirical study with an already existing sentiment index and forecast the equity premium of a stock market index. Can your prediction model beat a simple mean model?

Literature for getting started: Baker, M./ Wurgler, J. (2007), Investor Sentiment in the Stock market

Supervisor: Thomas Verchow
Student(s): Maximilian Podlich and Tilman Hager

6. Buy a Lottery Ticket or Buy a Stock – no matter?
Discuss the controversial topic in the spotlight of efficient markets and rational investors. Review the relevant literature. Report and interpret the empirical evidence concerning this topic.

Literature for getting started:Kumar, A. (2009), Who Gambles in the Stock Market?

Supervisor: Alina Maurer
Student(s): Benjamin Meyer

7. The Disposition Effect and Momentum
Explain the Disposition Effect. Review the relevant literature regarding this behavior. Connect the Disposition Effect to the Momentum Effect. Give evidence for the statement, that the Disposition Effect can explain the momentum effect.

Literature for getting started: Shefrin, H./ Statman, M. (1984), The Disposition to Sell Winners Too Early and Ride Losers Too Long: Theory and Evidence

Supervisor: Matthias Böhm
Student(s): Ken von Rentzell and Jin Qingling

8. Rational and Irrational Herding: Theory and Evidence
Review the literature regarding the herding effect. Limit rational and irrational herding from each other off. Review models describing herding. Describe how herding works in context of true events, e.g. bank runs.

Literature for getting started: Devenow, A./ Welch, I. (1996), Rational Herding in Financial Economics

Supervisor: Alina Maurer
Student(s): Hendrik Kopplin

9. The Dividend Puzzle
A major open question in corporate finance asks why firms pay dividends. Explain the Dividend Puzzle and review the relevant literature. Give possible behavioral explanations for the Dividend Puzzle.

Literature for getting started: Black, F. (1976), The Dividend Puzzle

Supervisor: Matthias Böhm
Student(s): Philip Duda and Heiko Hammersdorf

10. The Illusion of Knowledge
The Internet is changing how information is delivered to investors and the ways in which investors can act on that information. Review the literature regarding the above behavioral bias of investors. Discuss pros, cons and consequences.

Literature for getting started: Barber, B. M./ Odean, T. (2002), Online Investors: Do the Slow Die First?

Supervisor: Thomas Verchow
Student(s): Kevin Ulbrich


Results are available online!


Prof. Dr. Gunter Löffler
Thomas Verchow
Alina Maurer
Matthias Böhm

Dates and Room

Please take notice of the detailed timetable to the left.

Module description

This lecture is open for bachelor students only. Exceptions possible on request.

Module description