IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

International Portfolio Diversification with Generalized Expected Utility Preferences

  • Joshua Aizenman

This paper revisits the Home Bias Puzzle -- the relatively low interna- tional diversification of portfolios. We suggest that part of the diversifi- cation puzzle may be due to reliance on the conventional CAPM model as the benchmark predicting patterns of diversification. We compare the asset diver- sification patterns of agents who maximize a generalized expected utility (GEU) to the diversification of agents who maximize the conventional expected utility (EU). Specifically, we derive the patterns of diversification for agents who maximize a rank-dependent' expected utility, attaching more weight to bad' than to good' outcomes, in contrast to the probability weights used in a conventional expected utility maximization. We show that agents who maximize a GEU exhibit first order risk aversion and tend to refrain from di- versification in contrast to the diversification of agents who maximize the EU. For a given covariance structure we identify a `cone of diversifica- tion -- the range of domestic and foreign yields leading to a positive demand for both equities. Greater downside risk aversion increases the threshold of yields leading to diversification, shifting the cone of diversification upwards and rightwards. Thus, greater downsiderisk aversion narrows the range of foreign yields leading to diversification for a given domestic yield. Ceteris paribus, greater downside risk aversion reduces the feasible hetero- geneity of normalized excess yields associated with diversification. Conse- quently, we argue that first order risk aversion should be added to the explanatory factors that account for the observed diversification patterns.

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:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5965.

in new window

Date of creation: Mar 1997
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Canadian Journal of Economics, Vol. 66 (April 1999): 277-296.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5965
Note: 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:

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. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
  2. Joshua Aizenman, 1995. "Optimal Buffer Stocks and Precautionary Savings with Disappointment Aversion," NBER Working Papers 5361, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Hong, Chew Soo & Karni, Edi & Safra, Zvi, 1987. "Risk aversion in the theory of expected utility with rank dependent probabilities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 370-381, August.
  6. Stockman, Alan C. & Dellas, Harris, 1989. "International portfolio nondiversification and exchange rate variability," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 271-289, May.
  7. 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.
  8. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  9. Baxter, Marianne & Jermann, Urban J. & King, Robert G., 1998. "Nontraded goods, nontraded factors, and international non-diversification," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 211-229, April.
  10. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-89, November.
  11. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-48, December.
  12. Daniel Ellsberg, 2000. "Risk, Ambiguity and the Savage Axioms," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7605, David K. Levine.
  13. Stijn Claessens & Moon-Whoan Rhee, 1993. "The Effect of Equity Barriers on Foreign Investment in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 4579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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:5965. 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.