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International Diversification at Home and Abroad

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  • Fang Cai
  • Francis E. Warnock

Abstract

It is an established fact that investors favor the familiar%u2014be it domestic securities or, within a country, the securities of nearby firms%u2014and avoid investments that would provide the greatest diversification benefits. While we do not rule out familiarity as an important driver of portfolio allocations, we provide new evidence of investors%u2019 international diversification motive. In particular, our analysis of the security-level U.S. equity holdings of foreign and domestic institutional investors indicates that institutional investors reveal a preference for domestic multinationals (MNCs), even after controlling for familiarity factors. We attribute this revealed preference to the desire to obtain %u201Csafe%u201D international diversification. We then show that holdings of domestic MNCs are substantial and, after accounting for this home-grown foreign exposure, that the share of %u201Cforeign%u201D equities in investors%u2019 portfolios roughly doubles, reducing (but not eliminating) the observed home bias.

Suggested Citation

  • Fang Cai & Francis E. Warnock, 2006. "International Diversification at Home and Abroad," NBER Working Papers 12220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12220
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    Cited by:

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    2. Jacques Fontanel & Fanny Coulomb, 2006. "Spéculation internationale et régulation financière," Post-Print hal-03326513, HAL.
    3. Daly, Kevin & Vo, Xuan Vinh, 2013. "The determinants of home bias puzzle in equity portfolio investment in Australia," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 34-42.
    4. Marcela Meirelles Aurelio, 2006. "Going global : the changing pattern of U.S. investment abroad," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, vol. 91(Q III), pages 5-32.
    5. Abreu, Margarida & Mendes, Victor & Santos, João A.C., 2011. "Home country bias: Does domestic experience help investors enter foreign markets?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 2330-2340, September.
    6. Tatiana Didier & Roberto Rigobon & Sergio L. Schmukler, 2013. "Unexploited Gains From International Diversification: Patterns Of Portfolio Holdings Around The World," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(5), pages 1562-1583, December.
    7. Aggarwal, Raj & Berrill, Jenny & Hutson, Elaine & Kearney, Colm, 2011. "What is a multinational corporation? Classifying the degree of firm-level multinationality," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 557-577, October.
    8. Hisham S. Foad, 2012. "Equity Home Bias and the Euro," Quarterly Journal of Finance (QJF), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(01), pages 1-29.
    9. Desai, Mihir A. & Dharmapala, Dhammika, 2009. "Taxes, institutions and foreign diversification opportunities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 703-714, June.
    10. Christian Thimann, 2010. "Global Roles of Currencies," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Wensheng Peng & Chang Shu (ed.), Currency Internationalization: Global Experiences and Implications for the Renminbi, chapter 1, pages 3-41, Palgrave Macmillan.
    11. Christelis, Dimitris & Georgarakos, Dimitris, 2013. "Investing at home and abroad: Different costs, different people?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2069-2086.
    12. Forbes, Kristin J., 2010. "Why do foreigners invest in the United States?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 3-21, January.
    13. Massa, Massimo & Žaldokas, Alminas, 2014. "Investor base and corporate borrowing: Evidence from international bonds," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 95-110.
    14. Fidora, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel & Thimann, Christian, 2007. "Home bias in global bond and equity markets: The role of real exchange rate volatility," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 631-655, June.
    15. April M. Knill, 2013. "Does Foreign Portfolio Investment Reach Small Listed Firms?," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 19(2), pages 251-303, March.
    16. Pierre Bui Quang & Jonas Heipertz & Natacha Valla, 2017. "International equity portfolio diversification: a sectoral and security-by-security analysis," EconomiX Working Papers 2017-2, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    17. Zalewska, Anna, 2006. "Is locking domestic funds into the local market beneficial? Evidence from the Polish pension reforms," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 339-360, December.
    18. Berrill, Jenny & Kearney, Colm, 2010. "Firm-level internationalisation and the home bias puzzle," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 235-256, July.
    19. De Moor, Lieven & Sercu, Piet, 2011. "Country versus sector factors in equity returns: The roles of non-unit exposures," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 64-77, January.
    20. Lehrer, Nimrod David, 2018. "The value of political connections in a multiparty parliamentary democracy: Evidence from the 2015 elections in Israel," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 13-58.
    21. John Ammer & Sara B. Holland & David C. Smith & Francis E. Warnock, 2004. "Look at me now: the role of cross-listing in attracting U.S. investors," International Finance Discussion Papers 815, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    22. Abdioglu, Nida & Khurshed, Arif & Stathopoulos, Konstantinos, 2013. "Foreign institutional investment: Is governance quality at home important?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 916-940.
    23. Mark Fedenia & Sherrill Shaffer & Hilla Skiba, 2012. "Information immobility, industry concentration, and institutional investors' performance," CAMA Working Papers 2012-24, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.

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    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance

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