Nontraded Goods, Nontraded Factors, and International Non-Diversification
NBER Working Paper No. 5175
Can the presence of nontraded consumption goods explain the high degree of 'home bias' displayed by investor portfolios? We find that the answer is no, so long as individuals have access to free international trade in financial assets. In particular, it is never optimal to exhibit home bias with respect to domestic traded-good equities. By contrast, an optimal portfolio may exhibit substantial home bias with respect to nontraded-good equities, although this result requires a very low degree of substitution between traded and nontraded goods in the utility function. Further, our analysis uncovers a second puzzle: the composition of investors' portfolios appears to be strongly at variance with the predictions of the model that incorporates nontraded goods.
Published: Journal of International Economics, Vol. 44, no. 2 (April 1998): 211-229.