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International Portfolio Diversification and Multilateral Effects of Correlations

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  • Paul R. Bergin
  • Ju Hyun Pyun

Abstract

Not only are investors biased toward home assets, but when they do invest abroad, they appear to favor countries with returns more correlated with home assets. Often attributed to a preference for familiarity, this ‘correlation puzzle’ further reduces effective diversification. However, a multi-country DSGE model of portfolio choice makes clear that the effects of a bilateral stock return correlation must be studied in the context of the full covariance structure. For example, the attractiveness of a foreign country as a hedge depends upon its hedging potential relative to other potential destination countries. This paper develops a new empirical approach based upon a multi-country theoretical model that controls for the full covariance structure in a theoretically rigorous yet tractable manner. Estimation under this approach overturns the correlation puzzle, and finds that international investors do seek the diversification benefits of low cross-country correlations as theory would predict. Since covariances are central to modern theories of portfolio choice, this empirical methodology should be useful also for other applications.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul R. Bergin & Ju Hyun Pyun, 2012. "International Portfolio Diversification and Multilateral Effects of Correlations," NBER Working Papers 17907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17907
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    Cited by:

    1. Buch, Claudia M. & Neugebauer, Katja & Schröder, Christoph, 2013. "Changing forces of gravity: How the crisis affected international banking," Discussion Papers 48/2013, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    2. Martijn Boermans & Robert Vermeulen, 2016. "International investment positions revisited: Investor heterogeneity and individual security characteristics," DNB Working Papers 531, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    3. Rudiger Ahrend & Antoine Goujard, 2012. "International Capital Mobility and Financial Fragility - Part 6. Are all Forms of Financial Integration Equally Risky in Times of Financial Turmoil?: Asset Price Contagion During the Global Financial ," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 969, OECD Publishing.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets

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