Who is Internationally Diversified? Evidence from 296 401(k)

Geert Bekaert, Kenton Hoyem, Wei-Yin Hu, Enrichetta Ravina

NBER Working Paper No. 21236
Issued in June 2015
NBER Program(s):Asset Pricing

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21236

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