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Home bias and high turnover reconsidered

  • Warnock, Francis E.

It is a stylized fact of international finance that foreign equities are underweighted (the home bias) but overtraded (the high turnover). Since stylized facts drive research, theoretical models are now developed to explain the puzzling coexistence of home bias and high turnover, first presented in Tesar and Werner (1995), and researchers now dismiss transaction costs as a plausible explanation of home bias. I show, however, that part of the puzzle--very high turnover rates on foreign equity portfolios--is based on inaccurate estimates of cross-border holdings. Revised estimates of holdings of foreign equities from comprehensive benchmark surveys produce foreign turnover rates that are much lower than previously reported and are comparable to domestic turnover rates. The implications of this finding are clear. First, researchers should no longer develop theoretical models to explain the coexistence of home bias and high turnover. Second, the relationship between transaction costs and home bias should be reexplored. On the second point, the basic intuition from Tesar and Werner (1995)--that transaction costs do not help explain the observed home bias--is confirmed using actual data on transaction costs in 41 markets.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Money and Finance.

Volume (Year): 21 (2002)
Issue (Month): 6 (November)
Pages: 795-805

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jimfin:v:21:y:2002:i:6:p:795-805
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30443

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  1. Rowland, Patrick F., 1999. "Transaction costs and international portfolio diversification," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 145-170, October.
  2. Philippe Martin & Helene Rey, 2000. "Financial integration and asset returns," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20201, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Choe, Hyuk & Kho, Bong-Chan & Stulz, Rene M., 1999. "Do foreign investors destabilize stock markets? The Korean experience in 1997," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 227-264, October.
  4. 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.
  5. G. Andrew Karolyi & Rene M. Stulz, 2002. "Are Financial Assets Priced Locally or Globally?," NBER Working Papers 8994, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Alan G. Ahearne & William L. Griever & Francis E. Warnock, 2000. "Information costs and home bias: an analysis of U.S. holdings of foreign equities," International Finance Discussion Papers 691, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. 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.
  8. Massimo Guidolin, 2005. "Home bias and high turnover in an overlapping generations model with learning," Working Papers 2005-012, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  9. Brennan, Michael J & Cao, H Henry, 1997. " International Portfolio Investment Flows," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(5), pages 1851-80, December.
  10. Jun-Koo Kang & Rene M. Stulz, 1995. "Why Is There a Home Bias? An Analysis of Foreign Portfolio Equity Ownership in Japan," NBER Working Papers 5166, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ian Domowitz & Jack Glen & Ananth Madhavan, 2000. "Liquidity, Volatility, and Equity Trading Costs Across Countries and Over Time," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 322, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  12. Warnock, Francis E & Cleaver, Chad, 2003. "Financial Centres and the Geography of Capital Flows," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 27-59, Spring.
  13. Alaganar, V. T. & Bhar, Ramaprasad, 2001. "Diversification gains from American depositary receipts and foreign equities: evidence from Australian stocks," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 97-113, March.
  14. William L. Griever & Gary A. Lee & Francis E. Warnock, 2001. "The U.S. system for measuring cross-border investment in securities: a primer with a discussion of recent developments," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Oct, pages 634-650.
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