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Foreign stock holdings: the role of information

  • Fernanda Nechio

The household finance literature documents a large fraction of the population not participating in stock markets. It is also puzzling that a much greater share of households do not participate in foreign stock markets. Recent empirical evidence points towards the role of information in determining agents' portfolio choices. I test these results into a model that incorporates information on agents' portfolio allocation decision. In the model, consumers can invest in both domestic and foreign stocks and to update their information set, agents have to pay a cost implying that consumers update their portfolio only infrequently. In addition, to account for the initial costs of acquiring information about stock investments, a version of the model also features an entry-cost to be paid at the first period by agents that decide to enter stock market. Agents that invest in foreign stocks are more attentive, updating their portfolio more frequently. After calibrating the model to match returns and volatility for the U.S. economy and di¤erent foreign stock investments, I obtain that the minimum entry cost necessary to drive households completely out of stock markets is large (and in line with the equity premium puzzle literature). However, once agents already invest in domestic stock markets, the minimum cost that would drive investors out of foreign stocks market is much smaller. The size of the latter minimum entry cost depends on model parameters assumptions, and small variations on risk aversion and uncertaintly about foreign asset returns can bring this entry cost down enough to justify the substancial non-participation in foreign stock markets.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2010-26.

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Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2010-26
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  1. Mondria, Jordi & Wu, Thomas, 2006. "The Puzzling Evolution of the Home Bias, Information Processing and Financial Openness," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4wg39067, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
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  9. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 2000. "Portfolio Choice and Asset Prices: The Importance of Entrepreneurial Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1163-1198, 06.
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