NBER Working Papers by Enrichetta Ravina

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Working Papers

June 2015Who is Internationally Diversified? Evidence from 296 401(k)
with Geert Bekaert, Kenton Hoyem, Wei-Yin Hu: w21236
We examine the international equity allocations of 3.8 million individuals in 296 401(k) plans over the 2005-2011 period. We find enormous cross-individual variation, ranging from zero to over 75%, and strong cohort effects, with younger cohorts investing more internationally than older ones, and each cohort investing more internationally over time. Access to financial advice, lower fees and more international fund options are associated with higher international allocations, suggesting a role for plan design and policy. Education, financial literacy and the fraction of foreign-born population in the zip code also have positive effects on international diversification, consistent with familiarity and information stories.
June 2010Risk Aversion and Wealth: Evidence from Person-to-Person Lending Portfolios
with Daniel Paravisini, Veronica Rappoport: w16063
We estimate risk aversion from the actual financial decisions of 2,168 investors in Lending Club (LC), a person-to-person lending platform. We develop a methodology that allows us to estimate risk aversion parameters from each portfolio choice. Since the same individual makes repeated investments, we are able to construct a panel of risk aversion parameters that we use to disentangle heterogeneity in attitudes towards risk from the elasticity of investor-specific risk aversion to changes in wealth. In the cross section, we find that wealthier investors are more risk averse. Using changes in house prices as a source of variation, we find that investors become more risk averse after a negative wealth shock. These preferences consistently extrapolate to other investor decisions within LC.
December 2006What Do Independent Directors Know? Evidence from Their Trading
with Paola Sapienza: w12765
We compare the trading performance of independent directors and other officers of the firm. We find that independent directors earn positive and substantial abnormal returns when they purchase their company stock, and that the difference with the same firm's officers is relatively small at most horizons. The results are robust to controlling for firm fixed effects and to using a variety of alternative specifications. Executive officers and independent directors make higher returns in firms with weaker governance and the gap between these two groups widens in such firms. Independent directors who sit in audit committees earn higher return than other independent directors at the same firm. Finally, independent directors earn significantly higher returns than the market when they sell the com...


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