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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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Publication status: published as Why Are U.S. Stocks More Volatile? SÖHNKE M. BARTRAM, GREGORY BROWN, RENÉ M. STULZ† Article first published online: 19 JUL 2012 DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.2012.01749.x © 2012 The American Finance Association Issue The Journal of Finance The Journal of Finance Volume 67, Issue 4, pages 1329–1370, August 2012
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14931

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Bekaert, Geert & Hodrick, Robert J & Zhang, Xiaoyan, 2010. "Aggregate Idiosyncratic Volatility," CEPR Discussion Papers 8149, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. 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.
  5. Rossi, Francesco, 2012. "U.K. cross-sectional equity data: The case for robust investability filters," MPRA Paper 43312, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Nov 2012.
  6. Fiorella De Fiore & Harald Uhlig, 2011. "Bank Finance Versus Bond Finance," NBER Working Papers 16979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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