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International Asset Allocations and Capital Flows: The Benchmark Effect

Author

Listed:
  • Tomas Williams

    (George Washington University)

  • Claudio Raddatz

    (International Monetary Fund)

  • Sergio L. Schmukler

    (World Bank)

Abstract

We study different channels through which well-known benchmark indexes impact asset allocations, capital flows, asset prices, and exchange rates across countries, using unique monthly micro-level data of benchmark compositions and mutual fund investments during 1996-2014. We exploit different events and the presence of countries in multiple benchmarks to study the impact of benchmarks. We find that movements in benchmarks appear to have important effects on equity and bond mutual fund portfolios, including passive and active funds. The effects persist even after controlling for other relevant variables, such as time-varying industry-level factors, country-specific effects, and macroeconomic fundamentals. Exogenous, pre-announced changes in benchmarks impact asset allocations, capital flows, and abnormal returns in asset prices and exchange rates. These systemic effects occur not just when the benchmark changes are announced, but also later on when they become effective. By impacting country allocations, benchmarks explain apparently counterintuitive movements in capital flows and aggregate prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Tomas Williams & Claudio Raddatz & Sergio L. Schmukler, 2017. "International Asset Allocations and Capital Flows: The Benchmark Effect," Working Papers 2017-10, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:gwi:wpaper:2017-10
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    benchmark indexes; contagion; coordination mechanism; ETFs; international asset prices; international portfolio flows; mutual funds;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors

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