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External stimuli are increasingly prevalent in the digital age, competing for our attention, urging us to action. In this video, MATTHIAS PELSTER explores the extent to which attention triggers (like push notifications) increase risk taking in financial markets. Focusing on customers of a large broker, Arnold, Pelster & Subrahmanyam are able to use a difference-in-differences approach to compare the behaviors of those who receive such push notifications and those who do not. The work shows that attention triggers induce investors to take greater risks. This effect is more evident for particular demographics. Future research should analyze the effects of attention triggers on other investment dimensions like portfolio composition.


Matthias Pelster is Professor of Finance at Paderborn University. He has previously held research positions at New York University, Leuphana University of Lüneburg and TU Dortmund. His research focuses on behavioral finance, risk management, and corporate finance.

Original publication

Attention Triggers and Investors’ Risk-Taking

Arnold Marc, Pelster Matthias and Subrahmanyam Marti G.
Journal of Financial Economics
Published in 2021