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Inside Information and the Own Company Stock Puzzle

Listed author(s):
  • Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh
  • Laura Veldkamp

U.S. investors allocate 30-40% of their financial asset portfolio in the stock of the company they work for. Such a portfolio flies in the face of standard portfolio theory, which prescribes that an investor should hold less of a financial asset that is positively correlated with her undiversified labor income.Nevertheless, we propose a rational explanation that prescribes a long position in own company stock. Precisely because the own company stock is positively correlated with the investor's labor income, any information the investor learns about her earnings is a partial information advantage in her own company stock. When confronted with a choice of what information to acquire, employees may choose to learn about their own firm. Learning lowers the employee's risk of holding own-firm equity, which raises its risk-adjusted returns and makes a long position optimal.(JEL: F30, G11, D82) (c) 2006 by the European Economic Association.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 4 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04-05)
Pages: 623-633

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:4:y:2006:i:2-3:p:623-633
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