Mean-variance convergence around the world
In this paper, we show (i) that the risk-return characteristics of our sample of 17 developed stock markets of the world have converged significantly toward each other during our study period 1974-2007, and (ii) that this international convergence in risk-return characteristics is driven mainly by the declining 'country effect', rather than the rising 'industry effect', suggesting that the convergence is associated with international market integration. Specifically, we first compute the risk-return distance among international stock markets based on the Euclidean distance and find that the distance thus computed has been decreasing significantly over time, implying a mean-variance convergence. In particular, the average risk-return distance has decreased by about 50% over our sample period. We also document that the risk-return characteristics of our sample of 14 emerging markets have been converging rapidly toward those of developed markets in recent years. This development notwithstanding, emerging markets still remain as a distinct asset class. Lastly, we show that the convergence in risk-return characteristics has exerted a negative impact on the efficiency of international investment during our sample period.
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