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Multinationals and the Gains from International Diversification

  • Patrick F. Rowland
  • Linda L. Tesar

One possible explanation for home bias is that investors may obtain indirect international diversification benefits by investing in multinational firms rather than by investing directly in foreign markets. This paper employs mean-variance spanning tests to examine the diversification potential of multinational firms and foreign market indices for investors domiciled in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. We find that in most countries and most time periods, the portfolio of domestic stocks spans the risk and return opportunities of a portfolio that includes domestic and multinational stocks. However, there is weak evidence that U.S. multinationals provided global diversification benefits in the full 1984-92 sample and in the post-1987 subsample. We also find that the addition of foreign market indices to a domestic portfolio - inclusive of multinationals - provides diversification benefits. The economic importance of the shift of the portfolio frontier - measured as the utility gain from diversification - varies considerably from market to market and often reflects the benefits of large short positions in certain markets.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6733.

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Date of creation: Sep 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Rowland, Patrick F. and Linda L. Tesar. "Multinationals And The Gains From International Diversification," Review of Economic Dynamics, 2004, v7(4,Oct), 789-826.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6733
Note: IFM
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  1. Lewis, K.K., 1996. "Consumption, Stock Returns, and the Gains from International Risk-Sharing," Weiss Center Working Papers 96-4, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
  2. Jobson, J. D. & Korkie, Bob, 1989. "A Performance Interpretation of Multivariate Tests of Asset Set Intersection, Spanning, and Mean-Variance Efficiency," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(02), pages 185-204, June.
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  13. Geert Bekaert & Michael S. Urias, 1995. "Diversification, Integration and Emerging Market Closed-End Funds," NBER Working Papers 4990, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. MacKinlay, A Craig & Richardson, Matthew P, 1991. " Using Generalized Method of Moments to Test Mean-Variance Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 511-27, June.
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