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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
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2010-26
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  1. Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 2000. "Household Portfolios in Italy," CSEF Working Papers 43, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  2. Carol Bertaut & Martha Starr-McCluer, 2000. "Household portfolios in the United States," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-26, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Mondria, Jordi & Wu, Thomas, 2006. "The Puzzling Evolution of the Home Bias, Information Processing and Financial Openness," Santa Cruz Center for International Economics, Working Paper Series qt4wg39067, Center for International Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
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  7. Andrew B. Abel & Janice C. Eberly & Stavros Panageas, 2007. "Optimal Inattention to the Stock Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 244-249, May.
  8. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2002. "The 6D Bias and the Equity Premium Puzzle," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1947, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah, 2000. "Portfolio Choice in the Presence of Background Risk," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 1-26, January.
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