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The International Diversification Puzzle Is Worse Than You Think

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  • Baxter, Marianne
  • Jermann, Urban J

Abstract

Despite the growing integration of international financial markets, investors do not diversify internationally to any significant extent. The authors show that this 'international diversification puzzle' is deepened once they consider the implications of nontraded human capital for portfolio composition. While growth rates of labor and capital income are not highly correlated within countries, the authors find that the returns to human capital and physical capital are very highly correlated within four OECD countries. Hedging human capital risk therefore involves a substantial short position in domestic marketable assets. A diversified world portfolio will involve a negative position in domestic marketable assets. Copyright 1997 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Baxter, Marianne & Jermann, Urban J, 1997. "The International Diversification Puzzle Is Worse Than You Think," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 170-180, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:87:y:1997:i:1:p:170-80
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    1. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1991. "The consumption of stockholders and nonstockholders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 97-112, March.
    2. Jermann, Urban J., 1998. "Asset pricing in production economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 257-275, April.
    3. French, Kenneth R. & Poterba, James M., 1990. "Japanese and U.S. cross-border common stock investments," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 476-493, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F40 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - General
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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