Who participated in the GameStop frenzy? Evidence from brokerage accounts

Tim Hasso, Daniel Müller, Matthias Pelster, Sonja Warkulat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
233 Downloads (Pure)


In January 2021, the GameStop stock was the epicenter of the first case of predatory trading initiated by retail investors. We use brokerage accounts to study who participated in this GameStop frenzy and how they performed. We investigate the extent to which investors’ personal and trading characteristics differ from the general population of retail investors. GameStop traders had a history of investing in speculative instruments, including stocks with lottery-like features. They were also more likely to close their positions before the peak of the bubble. At the onset of the frenzy, numerous retail investors also shorted GameStop. Overall, our results indicate that the GameStop frenzy was not a pure digital protest against Wall Street but speculative trading by a group of retail investors, in line with their prior high-risk trading behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102140
JournalFinance Research Letters
Early online date17 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


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