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The home bias of the poor: terms of trade effects and portfolios across the wealth distribution

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  • Tobias Broer

    (Stockholm University)

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    Abstract

    This paper documents how poorer and less educated US households hold a smaller fraction of foreign assets in their financial portfolio. This average home bias of the poor is partly due to a lower probability of participating in foreign asset markets, often attributed to fixed costs of market entry. However, portfolio shares also rise with wealth among those households that do hold foreign assets, which fixed participation costs cannot explain. I use a simple, standard two-country general equilibrium model to show that hedging of terms of trade movements and non-financial income risk, commonly employed to explain aggregate country-level home bias, also produces non-trivial heterogeneity in portfolios across wealth levels within countries that is in line with the evidence.

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    Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2013 Meeting Papers with number 618.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:618

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    1. John D. Burger & Francis E. Warnock, 2004. "Foreign participation in local-currency bond markets," International Finance Discussion Papers 794, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Nicolas Coeurdacier, 2008. "When Bonds Matter: Home Bias in Goods and Assets," 2008 Meeting Papers 342, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    7. Luigi Guiso & Michael Haliassos & Tullio Jappelli, 2002. "Household Stockholding in Europe: Where Do We Stand and Where Do We Go?," CSEF Working Papers 88, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    8. 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.
    9. Dimitrios Christelis & Dimitris Georgarakos, 2008. "Investing at Home and Abroad: Different Costs, Different People?," CSEF Working Papers 188, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 10 Jan 2013.
    10. Krusell, P & Smith Jr, A-A, 1995. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomic," RCER Working Papers 399, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    11. Fabrice Collard & Harris Dellas & Behzad Diba & Alan Stockman, 2007. "Goods Trade and International Equity Portfolios," NBER Working Papers 13612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. 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.
    13. Stockman, Alan C & Tesar, Linda L, 1995. "Tastes and Technology in a Two-Country Model of the Business Cycle: Explaining International Comovements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 168-85, March.
    14. Harald Hau & Hélène Rey, 2008. "Global Portfolio Rebalancing Under the Microscope," NBER Working Papers 14165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. 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.
    16. Michael B. Devereux & Alan Sutherland, 2011. "Country Portfolios In Open Economy Macro‐Models," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 337-369, 04.
    17. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
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