Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought
Andrew W. Lo
With a new afterword by the author
A new, evolutionary explanation of markets and investor behavior
Half of all Americans have money in the stock market, yet economists can’t agree on whether investors and markets are rational and efficient, as modern financial theory assumes, or irrational and inefficient, as behavioral economists believe. The debate is one of the biggest in economics, and the value or futility of investment management and financial regulation hangs on the answer. In this groundbreaking book, Andrew Lo transforms the debate with a powerful new framework in which rationality and irrationality coexist—the Adaptive Markets Hypothesis. Drawing on psychology, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and other fields, Adaptive Markets shows that the theory of market efficiency is incomplete. When markets are unstable, investors react instinctively, creating inefficiencies for others to exploit. Lo’s new paradigm explains how financial evolution shapes behavior and markets at the speed of thought—a fact revealed by swings between stability and crisis, profit and loss, and innovation and regulation. An ambitious new answer to fundamental questions about economics and investing, Adaptive Markets is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how markets really work.
Andrew W. Lo is the Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and director of the MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering. He is the author of Hedge Funds and the coauthor of A Non-Random Walk Down Wall Street (both Princeton), among other books.