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During the academic year 2014-2015 Asset | Economics, in corporation with Asset | International Business & Management and Complex, organized a symposium. The event took place on September 25 at Tilburg University. The theme of the event was herd behavior in economics and hosted several speakers that elaborated on this psychological phenomenon.
The event started with a lunch, where the committee members and the speakers had the chance to get to know each other a little better. At 12:30 the first visitors were welcomed at the Dante Building with a goody bag. Afterwards, Jan Stoop, Chairman of the Day, opened the symposium. He kicked the event off by shedding some more light on herd behavior. Jan Stoop nicely illustrated that herd behavior is not necessarily a bad thing. He did this by posing questions to the participants. The participants had to estimate the number that was the correct answer to the questions. The individual answers might be far from the exact answer, while the average group answer might be very close. This is called wisdom of the crowd.
After this introduction in the topic, Corné van Zeijl, who is fund manager at SNS, discussed the effect of herd behavior in trading of stocks. The fact that people follow others has a strong influence on supply and demand and therefor prices of stocks. Corné van Zeijl ended his lecture with the fact that trading in stocks and managing funds is always a risky and difficult business. You are never sure what the results will be. Later that day, Ruben Cox from AFM (Authority Financial Markets) stressed that even algorithms are affected by herd behavior. Psychological facts should also be included in these mechanisms that help people invest, as that makes the algorithms better at predicting outcomes.
All in all the day was very interesting and a success; there were about 40 very active participants that enjoyed the combi-symposium. Let’s get ready for the next symposium!