Journal of Systematic Investing: Volume I Issue 1

Algorithmic Models of Investor Behavior

By Andrew W. Lo, Alexander Remorov


Lo, Andrew W., and Alexander Remorov. 2021. “Algorithmic Models of Investor Behavior.” Journal of Systematic Investing 1, no. 1: 1–29.


We propose a heuristic approach to modeling investor behavior by simulating combinations of simpler systematic investment strategies associated with well-known behavioral biases—in functional forms motivated by an extensive review of the behavioral finance literature—using parameters calibrated from historical data. We compute the investment performance of these heuristics individually and in pairwise combinations using both simulated and historical asset-class returns. The mean-reversion or momentum nature of a heuristic can often explain its effect on performance, depending on whether asset returns are consistent with such dynamics. These algorithms show that seemingly irrational investor behavior may, in fact, have been shaped by evolutionary forces and can be effective in certain environments and maladaptive in others.