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International Portfolio Diversification with Generalized Expected Utility Preferences

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  • Joshua Aizenman

Abstract

This paper revisits the Home Bias Puzzle -- the relatively low interna- tional diversification of portfolios. We suggest that part of the diversifi- cation puzzle may be due to reliance on the conventional CAPM model as the benchmark predicting patterns of diversification. We compare the asset diver- sification patterns of agents who maximize a generalized expected utility (GEU) to the diversification of agents who maximize the conventional expected utility (EU). Specifically, we derive the patterns of diversification for agents who maximize a rank-dependent' expected utility, attaching more weight to bad' than to good' outcomes, in contrast to the probability weights used in a conventional expected utility maximization. We show that agents who maximize a GEU exhibit first order risk aversion and tend to refrain from di- versification in contrast to the diversification of agents who maximize the EU. For a given covariance structure we identify a `cone of diversifica- tion -- the range of domestic and foreign yields leading to a positive demand for both equities. Greater downside risk aversion increases the threshold of yields leading to diversification, shifting the cone of diversification upwards and rightwards. Thus, greater downsiderisk aversion narrows the range of foreign yields leading to diversification for a given domestic yield. Ceteris paribus, greater downside risk aversion reduces the feasible hetero- geneity of normalized excess yields associated with diversification. Conse- quently, we argue that first order risk aversion should be added to the explanatory factors that account for the observed diversification patterns.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5965.

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Date of creation: Mar 1997
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Publication status: published as Canadian Journal of Economics, Vol. 66 (April 1999): 277-296.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5965

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  1. Harold L. Cole & Maurice Obstfeld, 1989. "Commodity Trade and International Risk Sharing: How Much Do Financial Markets Matter?," NBER Working Papers 3027, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Marianne Baxter & Urban J. Jermann & Robert G. King, 1995. "Nontraded Goods, Nontraded Factors, and International Non-Diversification," NBER Working Papers 5175, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-89, November.
  4. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-48, December.
  5. Stijn Claessens & Moon-Whoan Rhee, 1993. "The Effect of Equity Barriers on Foreign Investment in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 4579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, December.
  7. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  8. Joshua Aizenman, 1995. "Optimal Buffer Stocks and Precautionary Savings with Disappointment Aversion," NBER Working Papers 5361, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Tesar, Linda L. & Werner, Ingrid M., 1995. "Home bias and high turnover," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 467-492, August.
  10. Daniel Ellsberg, 2000. "Risk, Ambiguity and the Savage Axioms," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7605, David K. Levine.
  11. 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.
  12. Hong, Chew Soo & Karni, Edi & Safra, Zvi, 1987. "Risk aversion in the theory of expected utility with rank dependent probabilities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 370-381, August.
  13. Stockman, Alan C. & Dellas, Harris, 1989. "International portfolio nondiversification and exchange rate variability," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 271-289, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Kimakova, Alena, 2008. "The political economy of exchange rate regime determination: Theory and evidence," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 354-371, December.
  2. Amir Amadi & Paul Bergin, 2006. "Understanding International Portfolio Diversification and Turnover Rates," NBER Working Papers 12473, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Charles Engel & Akito Matsumoto, 2006. "Portfolio Choice in a Monetary Open-Economy DSGE Model," NBER Working Papers 12214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Glabadanidis, Paskalis, 2009. "Measuring the economic significance of mean-variance spanning," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 596-616, May.

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