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Loss aversion, asymmetric market comovements, and the home bias

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  • Kevin Amonlirdviman
  • Carlos Carvalho

Abstract

Loss aversion has been used to explain why a high equity premium might be consistent with plausible levels of risk aversion. The intuition is that the different utility impact of wealth gains and losses leads loss-averse investors to behave similarly to investors with high risk aversion. But if so, should these agents not perceive larger gains from international diversification than standard expected-utility preference agents with plausible levels of risk aversion? They might not, because comovements in international stock markets are asymmetric: Correlations are higher in market downturns than in upturns. This asymmetry dampens the gains from diversification relatively more for loss-averse investors. We analyze the portfolio problem of such an investor who has to choose between home and foreign equities in the presence of asymmetric comovement in returns. Perhaps surprisingly, in the context of the home bias puzzle we find that the loss-averse investors behave similarly to those with standard expected-utility preferences and plausible levels of risk aversion. We argue that preference specifications that appear to perform well with respect to the equity premium puzzle should be subjected to this "test."

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 430.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:430

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Keywords: Stocks - Rate of return ; Risk ; Investments ; Portfolio management;

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  1. Karen K. Lewis, 1999. "Trying to Explain Home Bias in Equities and Consumption," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(2), pages 571-608, June.
  2. Benartzi, Shlomo & Thaler, Richard H, 1995. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92, February.
  3. Merton, Robert C, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection under Uncertainty: The Continuous-Time Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 247-57, August.
  4. King, Mervyn & Sentana, Enrique & Wadhwani, Sushil, 1994. "Volatility and Links between National Stock Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 901-33, July.
  5. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
  6. Eric van Wincoop, 1998. "How big are potential welfare gains from international risksharing?," Staff Reports 37, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  7. Sanjiv Ranjan Das & Raman Uppal, 2004. "Systemic Risk and International Portfolio Choice," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(6), pages 2809-2834, December.
  8. Kenneth R. French & James M. Poterba, 1991. "Investor Diversification and International Equity Markets," NBER Working Papers 3609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Karolyi, G. Andrew & Stulz, Rene M., 2003. "Are financial assets priced locally or globally?," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 975-1020 Elsevier.
  10. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  11. Samuelson, Paul A, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection by Dynamic Stochastic Programming," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 239-46, August.
  12. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
  13. Andrew Patton, 2004. "Modelling Asymmetric Exchange Rate Dependence," Working Papers wp04-04, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  14. Andrew Ang & Geert Bekaert, 2002. "International Asset Allocation With Regime Shifts," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(4), pages 1137-1187.
  15. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Tano Santos, 2001. "Prospect Theory And Asset Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 1-53, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Lasse Steiner & Bruno S. Frey & Magnus Resch, 2013. "Home is where your art is: the home bias of art collectors," ECON - Working Papers 135, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.

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