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Decomposing the U.S. External Returns Differential

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  • Stephanie E. Curcuru
  • Tomas Dvorak
  • Francis E. Warnock

Abstract

We decompose the returns differential between U.S. portfolio claims and liabilities into the composition, return, and timing effects. Our most striking and robust finding is that foreigners exhibit poor timing when reallocating between bonds and equities within their U.S. portfolios. The poor timing of foreign investors--caused primarily by deliberate trading, not a lack of portfolio rebalancing--contributes positively to the U.S. external returns differential. We find no evidence that the poor timing is driven by mechanical reserve accumulation by emerging market countries; rather, it is driven almost entirely by the poor timing of rich, developed (mainly European) countries. Finally, while poor foreign timing appears to be persistent across subsamples, other terms in our decomposition (the composition and return effects and U.S. timing abroad), as well as the overall differential, are sometimes negative, sometimes positive, and usually indistinguishable from zero.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2009. "Decomposing the U.S. External Returns Differential," NBER Working Papers 15077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15077
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    Cited by:

    1. Matteo Maggiori, 2013. "The U.S. Dollar Safety Premium," 2013 Meeting Papers 75, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. repec:spr:weltar:v:153:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10290-017-0283-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Matteo Maggiori, 2017. "Financial Intermediation, International Risk Sharing, and Reserve Currencies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(10), pages 3038-3071, October.
    4. Bertaut, Carol C. & Tabova, Alexandra M. & Wong, Vivian, 2014. "The Replacement of Safe Assets: Evidence from the U.S. Bond Portfolio," International Finance Discussion Papers 1123, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Charles P. Thomas & Francis E. Warnock & Jon Wongswan, 2011. "US International Equity Investment and Past and Prospective Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3440-3455, December.
    6. Mileva, Mariya, 2015. "Valuation effects and long-run real exchange rate dynamics," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 390-408.
    7. Anaya, Pablo & Hachula, Michael & Offermanns, Christian J., 2017. "Spillovers of U.S. unconventional monetary policy to emerging markets: The role of capital flows," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(PB), pages 275-295.
    8. Curcuru, Stephanie E. & Thomas, Charles P. & Warnock, Francis E., 2013. "On returns differentials," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 1-25.
    9. Bacchetta, Philippe & van Wincoop, Eric, 2017. "Gradual Portfolio Adjustment: Implications for Global Equity Portfolios and Returns," CEPR Discussion Papers 11983, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Linda S. Goldberg, 2011. "The international role of the dollar: Does it matter if this changes?," Staff Reports 522, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    11. Masahiro Endoh, 2012. "Return Differentials of Foreign Investment among OECD Countries," Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Discussion Paper Series 2012-016, Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Program.
    12. Thomas A. Knetsch & Arne J. Nagengast, 2017. "Penny wise and pound foolish? On the income from Germany’s foreign investments," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 153(4), pages 753-778, November.

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    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance

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