An empirical puzzle in financial markets, known as the low-risk anomaly, is that riskier assets earn lower risk-adjusted returns than less risky assets. We relate the low risk anomaly to the Favorite-Longshot Bias in betting markets, where returns to betting on riskier "longshots" are lower than returns to betting on "favorites," and provide novel evidence to both anomalies. Synthesizing the evidence, we study the joint implications from the two settings for a unifying explanation. Rational theories of risk-averse investors with homogeneous beliefs cannot explain the cross-sectional relationship between diversifiable risk and return in betting markets. Rather, we appeal to models of non-traditional preferences or heterogeneous beliefs. We find that a model with reference-dependent preferences, featuring probability weighting and diminishing sensitivity, two features of Cumulative Prospect Theory, best fits the data, and is able to capture the choice and the amount to bet.
The information contained herein is only as current as of the date indicated, and may be superseded by subsequent market events or for other reasons. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of AQR Capital Management, LLC, its affiliates or its employees. This information is not intended to, and does not relate specifically to any investment strategy or product that AQR offers. It is being provided merely to provide a framework to assist in the implementation of an investor’s own analysis and an investor’s own view on the topic discussed herein. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.