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International diversification gains and home bias in banking


  • García-Herrero, Alicia
  • Vázquez, Francisco


This paper studies international diversification in banking, exploiting a bank-level dataset that covers the operations of 38 global banks and their subsidiaries overseas during 1995–2004. The paper finds that banks with a larger share of assets allocated to subsidiaries in emerging market countries were able to attain higher risk-adjusted returns. These gains were somewhat reduced by the concentration of bank subsidiaries in specific geographical regions, which is typical of the observed international expansion strategies. The paper also finds a substantial home bias in the international allocation of bank assets relative to the results of a mean–variance portfolio optimization model.

Suggested Citation

  • García-Herrero, Alicia & Vázquez, Francisco, 2013. "International diversification gains and home bias in banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 2560-2571.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:37:y:2013:i:7:p:2560-2571 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbankfin.2013.02.024

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    2. Lessard, Donald R, 1973. "International Portfolio Diversification: A Multivariate Analysis for a Group of Latin American Countries," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 28(3), pages 619-633, June.
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    4. Evelyn Hayden & Daniel Porath & Natalja Westernhagen, 2007. "Does Diversification Improve the Performance of German Banks? Evidence from Individual Bank Loan Portfolios," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 32(3), pages 123-140, December.
    5. Barth, James R. & Caprio, Gerard Jr. & Levine, Ross, 2004. "Bank regulation and supervision: what works best?," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 205-248, April.
    6. Claudia M. Buch & John C. Driscoll & Charlotte Ostergaard, 2010. "Cross-Border Diversification in Bank Asset Portfolios," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 79-108, March.
    7. Viral V. Acharya & Iftekhar Hasan & Anthony Saunders, 2002. "The effects of focus and diversification on bank risk and return: evidence from individual bank loan portfolios," Proceedings 905, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    8. Levy, Haim & Sarnat, Marshall, 1970. "International Diversification of Investment Portfolios," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(4), pages 668-675, September.
    9. French, Kenneth R & Poterba, James M, 1991. "Investor Diversification and International Equity Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 222-226, May.
    10. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Douglas W. Diamond, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicola Cetorelli & Linda S. Goldberg, 2008. "Banking globalization, monetary transmission, and the lending channel," Staff Reports 333, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    2. García-Herrero, Alicia & Gavilá, Sergio & Santabárbara, Daniel, 2009. "What explains the low profitability of Chinese banks?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(11), pages 2080-2092, November.
    3. Markus Leibrecht & Johann Scharler, 2012. "Banks, Financial Markets and International Consumption Risk Sharing," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 13(3), pages 331-351, August.
    4. Lasse Steiner & Bruno S. Frey & Magnus Resch, 2013. "Home is where your art is: the home bias of art collectors," ECON - Working Papers 135, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. Vazquez, Francisco & Federico, Pablo, 2015. "Bank funding structures and risk: Evidence from the global financial crisis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1-14.
    6. Eric van Wincoop, 2013. "International Contagion through Leveraged Financial Institutions," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 152-189, July.
    7. Georgiadis, Georgios, 2014. "Towards an explanation of cross-country asymmetries in monetary transmission," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PA), pages 66-84.
    8. Bertay, Ata Can & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Huizinga, Harry, 2011. "Is the Financial Safety Net a Barrier to Cross-Border Banking?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8712, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Fang, Yiwei & van Lelyveld, Iman, 2014. "Geographic diversification in banking," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 172-181.

    More about this item


    International banking; Home bias; Portfolio diversification; Basel II; Basel III;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • F40 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - General


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