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International Diversification at Home and Abroad

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  • Fang Cai
  • Francis E. Warnock
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    Abstract

    It is an established fact that investors favor the familiar%u2014be it domestic securities or, within a country, the securities of nearby firms%u2014and avoid investments that would provide the greatest diversification benefits. While we do not rule out familiarity as an important driver of portfolio allocations, we provide new evidence of investors%u2019 international diversification motive. In particular, our analysis of the security-level U.S. equity holdings of foreign and domestic institutional investors indicates that institutional investors reveal a preference for domestic multinationals (MNCs), even after controlling for familiarity factors. We attribute this revealed preference to the desire to obtain %u201Csafe%u201D international diversification. We then show that holdings of domestic MNCs are substantial and, after accounting for this home-grown foreign exposure, that the share of %u201Cforeign%u201D equities in investors%u2019 portfolios roughly doubles, reducing (but not eliminating) the observed home bias.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12220.

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    Date of creation: May 2006
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    Publication status: published as “Foreign Exposure through Domestic Equities”. Finance Research Letters.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12220

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    Cited by:
    1. Christelis, Dimitris & Georgarakos, Dimitris, 2009. "Investing at home and abroad: Different costs, different people," CFS Working Paper Series 2009/28, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    2. Kristin J. Forbes, 2008. "Why do Foreigners Invest in the United States?," NBER Working Papers 13908, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Marcela Meirelles Aurelio, 2006. "Going global : the changing pattern of U.S. investment abroad," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III, pages 5-32.
    4. Mihir A. Desai & Dhammika Dharmapala, 2008. "Taxes, Institutions and Foreign Diversification Opportunities," Working Papers 0828, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    5. Christian Thimann, 2008. "Global Roles of Currencies," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 211-245, December.
    6. Zalewska, Anna, 2006. "Is locking domestic funds into the local market beneficial? Evidence from the Polish pension reforms," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 339-360, December.
    7. De Moor, Lieven & Sercu, Piet, 2011. "Country versus sector factors in equity returns: The roles of non-unit exposures," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 64-77, January.
    8. Didier, Tatiana & Rigobon, Roberto & Schmukler, Sergio L., 2011. "Unexploited gains from international diversification : patterns of portfolio holdings around the world," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5524, The World Bank.
    9. Abreu, Margarida & Mendes, Victor & Santos, João A.C., 2011. "Home country bias: Does domestic experience help investors enter foreign markets?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 2330-2340, September.
    10. Massa, Massimo & Žaldokas, Alminas, 2014. "Investor base and corporate borrowing: Evidence from international bonds," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 95-110.

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