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Why Do Foreign Firms Have Less Idiosyncratic Risk than U.S. Firms?

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  • Söhnke M. Bartram
  • Gregory Brown
  • René M. Stulz

Abstract

Using a large panel of firms across the world from 1991-2006, we show that the median foreign firm has lower idiosyncratic risk than a comparable U.S. firm. Country characteristics help explain variation in the level of idiosyncratic risk, but less so than firm characteristics. Idiosyncratic risk falls as government stability and respect for the rule of law improve. Idiosyncratic risk is positively related to stock market development but negatively related to bond market development. Surprisingly, we find that idiosyncratic risk is generally negatively related to corporate disclosure quality. Finally, idiosyncratic risk generally increases with shareholder protection. Though there is evidence that R 2 increases with creditor rights and falls with the quality of disclosure, these results are driven by the relations between these variables and systematic risk rather than by the impact of these variables on idiosyncratic risk.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14931.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14931

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  1. Dahlquist, Magnus & Pinkowitz, Lee & Stulz, René M. & Williamson, Rohan, 2003. "Corporate Governance and the Home Bias," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(01), pages 87-110, March.
  2. Claessens, Stijn & Laeven, Luc, 2002. "Financial development, property rights, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2924, The World Bank.
  3. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 1999. "A new database on financial development and structure," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2146, The World Bank.
  4. René M. Stulz, 2005. "The Limits of Financial Globalization," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(4), pages 1595-1638, 08.
  5. Steven Drucker & Manju Puri, 2005. "On the Benefits of Concurrent Lending and Underwriting," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2763-2799, December.
  6. Doidge, Craig & Andrew Karolyi, G. & Stulz, Rene M., 2007. "Why do countries matter so much for corporate governance?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 1-39, October.
  7. Michelacci, Claudio & Schivardi, Fabiano, 2008. "Does Idiosyncratic Business Risk Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6910, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Diego Comin & Thomas Philippon, 2005. "The Rise in Firm-Level Volatility: Causes and Consequences," NBER Working Papers 11388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Coles, Jeffrey L. & Daniel, Naveen D. & Naveen, Lalitha, 2006. "Managerial incentives and risk-taking," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 431-468, February.
  10. Geert Bekaert & Campbell R. Harvey & Christian Lundblad, 2005. "Liquidity and Expected Returns: Lessons From Emerging Markets," NBER Working Papers 11413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Acharya, Viral V. & Amihud, Yakov & Litov, Lubomir, 2011. "Creditor rights and corporate risk-taking," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 150-166, October.
  12. Ozgur S. Ince & R. Burt Porter, 2006. "INDIVIDUAL EQUITY RETURN DATA FROM THOMSON DATASTREAM: HANDLE WITH CARE!," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association & Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 29(4), pages 463-479.
  13. Brown, Gregory & Kapadia, Nishad, 2007. "Firm-specific risk and equity market development," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 358-388, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Rossi, Francesco, 2012. "UK cross-sectional equity data: The case for robust investability filters," European Economic Letters, European Economics Letters Group, vol. 1(1), pages 6-13.
  2. John Cotter & Niall O'Sullivan & Francesco Rossi, 2014. "The Conditional Pricing of Systematic and Idiosyncratic Risk in the UK Equity Market," Working Papers 201403, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  3. Geert Bekaert & Robert J. Hodrick & Xiaoyan Zhang, 2010. "Aggregate Idiosyncratic Volatility," NBER Working Papers 16058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Fiorella De Fiore & Harald Uhlig, 2011. "Bank Finance Versus Bond Finance," NBER Working Papers 16979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Nguyen, Nhut H. & Truong, Cameron, 2013. "The information content of stock markets around the world: A cultural explanation," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 1-29.
  6. Kaniel, Ron & Ozoguz, Arzu & Starks, Laura, 2012. "The high volume return premium: Cross-country evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 255-279.
  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. Rajgopal, Shiva & Venkatachalam, Mohan, 2011. "Financial reporting quality and idiosyncratic return volatility," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 1-20, February.

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