When Grandpa Was A Boy, Were There Any Dinosaurs?

Blindfolded Monkeys

1988: In his 1973 book A Random Walk down Wall Street, the American economist Burton Malkiel suggested: “A blindfolded monkey throwing darts at a newspaper’s financial pages could select a portfolio that would do just as well as one carefully selected by experts.”

In 1988, The Wall Street Journal decided to put Malkiel’s theory to the test. A list of stocks was fixed to the office wall and journalists – the next best thing to blindfolded monkeys – picked stocks by flinging darts at the list. Investment professionals, representing the experts, selected their portfolio by more conventional means.

Between 1990, when the contest format was slightly altered, and 2002, when the contest closed, the random selections of one side were pitted against the more carefully chosen selections of the other 147 times.

The results: 90 wins for the experts, 57 wins for the “monkeys”.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, 18 April 2002

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