IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Is the International Diversification Potential Diminishing? Foreign Equity Inside and Outside the US

  • Karen K. Lewis
Registered author(s):

    Over the past two decades international markets have become more open, leading to a common perception that global capital markets have become more integrated. In this paper, I ask what this integration and its resulting higher correlation would imply about the diversification potential across countries. For this purpose, I examine two basic groups of international returns: (1) foreign market indices and (2) foreign stocks that are listed and traded in the US. I examine the first group since this is the standard approach in the international diversification literature, while I study the second group since some have argued that US-listed foreign stocks are the more natural diversification vehicle (Errunza et al (1999)). In order to consider the possibility of shifts in the covariance of returns over time, I extend the break-date estimation approach of Bai and Perron (1998) to test for and estimate possible break dates across returns along with their confidence intervals. I find that the covariances among country stock markets have indeed shifted over time for a majority of the countries. But in contrast to the common perception that markets have become significantly more integrated over time, the covariance between foreign markets and the US market have increased only slightly from the beginning to the end of the last twenty years. At the same time, the foreign stocks in the US markets have become significantly more correlated with the US market. To consider the economic significance of these parameter changes, I use the estimates to examine the implications for a simple portfolio decision model in which a US investor could choose between US and foreign portfolios. When restricted to holding foreign assets in the form of market indices, I find that the optimal allocation in foreign market indices actually increases over time. However, the optimal allocation into foreign stocks decreases when the investor is allowed to hold foreign stocks that are traded in the US. Also, the minimum variance attainable by the foreign portfolios has increased over time. These results suggest that the benefits to diversification have declined both for stocks inside and outside the US.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12697.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12697.

    as
    in new window

    Length:
    Date of creation: Nov 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12697
    Note: AP IFM
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 1998. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 47-78, January.
    2. Peter Blair Henry, 2000. "Stock Market Liberalization, Economic Reform, and Emerging Market Equity Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 529-564, 04.
    3. Chari, Anusha & Henry, Peter B., 2002. "Risk Sharing and Asset Prices: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Research Papers 1736r, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    4. Maurice Obstfeld, 1992. "Risk-Taking, Global Diversification, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Peter Blair Henry, 2003. "Capital-Account Liberalization, the Cost of Capital, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 91-96, May.
    6. Marianne Baxter & Mario J. Crucini, 1994. "Business Cycles and the Asset Structure of Foreign Trade," NBER Working Papers 4975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Geert Bekaert & Campbell R. Harvey, 2000. "Foreign Speculators and Emerging Equity Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 565-613, 04.
    8. Geert Bekaert & Campbell R. Harvey & Robin L. Lumsdaine, 1998. "Dating the Integration of World Equity Markets," NBER Working Papers 6724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1992. "International Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 745-75, August.
    10. Baele, Lieven, 2005. "Volatility Spillover Effects in European Equity Markets," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(02), pages 373-401, June.
    11. Cole, Harold L. & Obstfeld, Maurice, 1991. "Commodity trade and international risk sharing : How much do financial markets matter?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 3-24, August.
    12. Vihang Errunza & Ked Hogan & Mao-Wei Hung, 1999. "Can the Gains from International Diversification Be Achieved without Trading Abroad?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(6), pages 2075-2107, December.
    13. Geert Bekaert & Campbell R. Harvey, 1995. "Emerging Equity Market Volatility," NBER Working Papers 5307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Gehrig, Thomas, 1993. " An Information Based Explanation of the Domestic Bias in International Equity Investment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(1), pages 97-109.
    15. Bekaert, Geert & Hodrick, Robert J, 1992. " Characterizing Predictable Components in Excess Returns on Equity and Foreign Exchange Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 467-509, June.
    16. Carrieri, Francesca & Errunza, Vihang & Sarkissian, Sergei, 2006. "The Dynamics of Geographic versus Sectoral Diversification: Is There a Link to the Real Economy?," Working Papers 06-4, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
    17. Craig Doidge & G. Andrew Karolyi & Rene M. Stulz, 2001. "Why are Foreign Firms Listed in the U.S. Worth More?," NBER Working Papers 8538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Stephen R. Foerster & G. Andrew Karolyi, 1999. "The Effects of Market Segmentation and Investor Recognition on Asset Prices: Evidence from Foreign Stocks Listing in the United States," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(3), pages 981-1013, 06.
    19. Lubo Pástor, . "Portfolio Selection and Asset Pricing Models," CRSP working papers 498, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
    20. Alan C. Stockman & Linda L. Tesar, 1991. "Tastes and technology in a two-country model of the business cycle: explaining international co-movements," Working Paper 9019, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    21. Pesenti, Paolo & van Wincoop, Eric, 2002. "Can Nontradables Generate Substantial Home Bias?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(1), pages 25-50, February.
    22. Vassalou, Maria, 2000. "Exchange Rate And Foreign Inflation Risk Premiums In Global Equity Returns," CEPR Discussion Papers 2448, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    23. French, Kenneth R & Poterba, James M, 1991. "Investor Diversification and International Equity Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 222-26, May.
    24. Karen K. Lewis, 1999. "Trying to Explain Home Bias in Equities and Consumption," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(2), pages 571-608, June.
    25. Tesar, Linda L. & Werner, Ingrid M., 1995. "Home bias and high turnover," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 467-492, August.
    26. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
    27. Vassalou, Maria, 2000. "Exchange rate and foreign inflation risk premiums in global equity returns," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 433-470, June.
    28. Bonser-Neal, Catherine, et al, 1990. " International Investment Restrictions and Closed-End Country Fund Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 523-47, June.
    29. Adler, Michael & Dumas, Bernard, 1983. " International Portfolio Choice and Corporation Finance: A Synthesis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(3), pages 925-84, June.
    30. Geert Bekaert & Campbell R. Harvey, 1994. "Time-Varying World Market Integration," NBER Working Papers 4843, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    31. G. Andrew Karolyi, 2006. "The World of Cross-Listings and Cross-Listings of the World: Challenging Conventional Wisdom," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 10(1), pages 99-152.
    32. BAI, Jushan & PERRON, Pierre, 1998. "Computation and Analysis of Multiple Structural-Change Models," Cahiers de recherche 9807, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
    33. repec:kap:eurfin:v:10:y:2006:i:1:p:99-152 is not listed on IDEAS
    34. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 2003. "Critical values for multiple structural change tests," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 6(1), pages 72-78, 06.
    35. Ferson, Wayne E & Harvey, Campbell R, 1993. "The Risk and Predictability of International Equity Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(3), pages 527-66.
    36. Dumas, Bernard & Solnik, Bruno, 1995. " The World Price of Foreign Exchange Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(2), pages 445-79, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12697. 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: ()

    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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.