IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Role of Human Capital in Imperfectly Informed International Financial Markets


  • Isaac Ehrlich

    (State University of New York at Buffalo ,National Bureau of Economic Research and Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research)

  • Jong Kook Shin

    (State University of New York at Buffalo)


The paper's point of departure is that the information content of financial asset prices is formed partly through search for private information by individuals or investor groups, rather than gleaned exclusively from observed asset prices. Differences in the efficiency of search for information signals and in the opportunity costs involved lead to asymmetries in private information precision across investors and to variations in the price information content of traded assets. Our model links these variables to the level of prior knowledge, or "general human capital" investors possess concerning all traded assets, as well as idiosyncratic knowledge, or "specific human capital" associated with specific assets. In this context, the paper extends and generalizes the approach offered in Ehrlich, Hamlen and Yin (2008). Pursuing a rational-expectations-equilibrium model of noisy prices with multiple assets and heterogeneous investors, we apply this model to explain the observed diversity in the degree of concentration of financial portfolios in domestic, relative to foreign assets across countries - what the literature has termed "home bias". Our model predicts that while conditional increments in general human capital, proxied by schooling, monotonically increase the expected absolute holdings of both home and foreign stocks, "home bias" at the market level is an inverted-U function of schooling. Symmetrically opposite results are predicted concerning the impact of variations in the opportunity costs of information production, proxied by individual labor market wages. We test these predictions against aggregate market data concerning the compositions of aggregate portfolios across 23 countries over a 7-year period (2001-07). The results strongly support our discriminating hypotheses. A related, and more extensive, empirical investigation is contained in Ehrlich, Shin, and Yin (2010).

Suggested Citation

  • Isaac Ehrlich & Jong Kook Shin, 2010. "The Role of Human Capital in Imperfectly Informed International Financial Markets," Working Papers 092010, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:hkm:wpaper:092010

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Isaac Ehrlich & William A. Hamlen Jr. & Yong Yin, 2008. "Asset Management, Human Capital, and the Market for Risky Assets," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(3), pages 217-262.
    2. Ehrlich, Isaac & Ben-Zion, Uri, 1976. "Asset Management, Allocation of Time, and Returns to Saving," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(4), pages 558-586, December.
    3. Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Laura Veldkamp, 2009. "Information Immobility and the Home Bias Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(3), pages 1187-1215, June.
    4. Isaac Ehrlich & Jong Kook Shin & Yong Yin, 2011. "Private Information, Human Capital, and Optimal "Home Bias" in Financial Markets," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(3), pages 255-301.
    5. Philippe Bacchetta & Eric Van Wincoop, 2006. "Can Information Heterogeneity Explain the Exchange Rate Determination Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 552-576, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Isaac Ehrlich & Jong Kook Shin & Yong Yin, 2011. "Private Information, Human Capital, and Optimal "Home Bias" in Financial Markets," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(3), pages 255-301.
    2. Dobrolyubova, Elena (Добролюбова, Елена), 2018. "Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Delegated Powers
      [Оценка Результативности И Эффективности Переданных Полномочий]
      ," Working Papers 041839, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hkm:wpaper:092010. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (HKIMR). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.