Working papers // Department of Economics, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey 2007,01
We consider a model of an internet chat room with free entry but secure identity. Traders exchange messages in real time of both a fundamental and non-fundamental nature. We explore conditions under which traders post truthful information and make trading decisions. We also a describe an equilibrium in which momentum traders profit from their exposure to informed traders in the chat room. The model generates a number of empirical predictions: (1) unskillful traders post more often than skillful traders; (2) skillful traders will not follow unskillful traders in stock picking; (3) The optimal strategy for unskillful traders is to follow skillful traders in stock picking. We test and affirm all three predictions using a unique data set of chat room logs from the Activetrader Financial Chat Room.