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Unexploited Gains from International Diversification: Patterns of Portfolio Holdings Around the World

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  • Tatiana Didier
  • Roberto Rigobon
  • Sergio L. Schmukler

Abstract

This paper studies how portfolios with a global investment scope are actually allocated internationally using a unique micro dataset on U.S. equity mutual funds. While mutual funds have great flexibility to invest globally, they invest in a surprisingly limited number of stocks, around 100. The number of holdings in stocks and countries from a given region declines as the investment scope of funds broadens. This restrictive investment practice has costs. A mean-variance strategy shows unexploited gains from further international diversification. Mutual funds investing globally could achieve better risk-adjusted returns by broadening their asset allocation, including stocks held by more specialized funds within the same mutual fund family (company). This investment pattern is not explained by lack of information or instruments, transaction costs, or a better ability of global funds to minimize negative outcomes. Instead, industry practices related to organizational factors seem to play an important role.

Suggested Citation

  • Tatiana Didier & Roberto Rigobon & Sergio L. Schmukler, 2010. "Unexploited Gains from International Diversification: Patterns of Portfolio Holdings Around the World," NBER Working Papers 16629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16629 Note: IFM
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    Cited by:

    1. Raddatz, Claudio & Schmukler, Sergio L., 2012. "On the international transmission of shocks: Micro-evidence from mutual fund portfolios," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 357-374.
    2. Didier, Tatiana & Schmukler, Sergio L., 2013. "The financing and growth of firms in China and India: Evidence from capital markets," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 111-137.
    3. Tatiana Didier & Sergio L Schmukler, 2014. "Debt Markets in Emerging Economies: Major Trends," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 56(2), pages 200-228, June.
    4. Martijn Boermans & Robert Vermeulen, 2016. "International investment positions revisited: Investor heterogeneity and individual security characteristics," DNB Working Papers 531, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    5. Bengui, Julien & Nguyen, Ha, 2016. "Consumption baskets and currency choice in international borrowing," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 287-304.
    6. repec:eee:inecon:v:108:y:2017:i:c:p:413-430 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Raddatz, Claudio & Schmukler, Sergio L. & Williams, Tomás, 2017. "International asset allocations and capital flows: The benchmark effect," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 413-430.
    8. John Ammer & Sara B. Holland & David C. Smith & Francis E. Warnock, 2012. "U.S. International Equity Investment," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(5), pages 1109-1139, December.
    9. Lai, Wan-Ni, 2016. "Do academic investment insights benefit society?," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, pages 172-176.
    10. Didier, Tatiana & Moretti, Matias & Schmukler, Sergio L., 2015. "The changing patterns of financial integration in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7190, The World Bank.
    11. Didier, Tatiana & Schmukler, Sergio L., 2013. "Financial development in Latin America and the Caribbean : stylized facts and the road ahead," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6582, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • 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
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General

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