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Immigration and equity home bias

  • Foad, Hisham

Why do investors hold such large positions in domestic equity when there are gains to be made from international diversification? This equity home bias puzzle has received considerable attention in the literature, with asymmetric information on domestic and foreign assets (whether by individual choice or by market imperfection) emerging as the most plausible explanation. What happens when we consider a subset of investors whose information sets are closer to investors in foreign countries? I assess the relationship between immigration and equity home bias and find that inward migration is positively correlated with increased foreign equity positions and reduced home bias. Looking across income groups, outward migration reduces home bias for relatively rich countries, but may actually increase home bias when migration occurs to or from a developing country. These results suggest that immigration generates a positive externality of increased information flows for developed countries, but not for developing nations. The effects of immigration on investment are strongest within the Euro-Zone, suggesting that this positive externality of immigration is largest when barriers to portfolio diversification (such as currency risk) are lowest.

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

Volume (Year): 30 (2011)
Issue (Month): 6 (October)
Pages: 982-998

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jimfin:v:30:y:2011:i:6:p:982-998
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30443

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  1. Fidora, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel & Thimann, Christian, 2006. "Home bias in global bond and equity markets: the role of real exchange rate volatility," Working Paper Series 0685, European Central Bank.
  2. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2008. "All That Glitters: The Effect of Attention and News on the Buying Behavior of Individual and Institutional Investors," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(2), pages 785-818, April.
  3. Laura Veldkamp & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2004. "Information Immobility and the Home Bias Puzzle," Working Papers 04-32, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
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  5. McKenzie, David J., 2005. "Paper walls are easier to tear down : passport costs and legal barriers to emigration," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3783, The World Bank.
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  8. Javorcik, Beata S. & Özden, Çaglar & Spatareanu, Mariana & Neagu, Cristina, 2011. "Migrant networks and foreign direct investment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 231-241, March.
  9. Bhattacharya, Utpal & Groznik, Peter, 2008. "Melting pot or salad bowl: Some evidence from U.S. investments abroad," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 228-258, August.
  10. Norman Strong & Xinzhong Xu, 2003. "Understanding the Equity Home Bias: Evidence from Survey Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 307-312, May.
  11. Abdeslam Marfouk, 2007. "Brain Drain in Developing Countries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 193-218, June.
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