International Diversification at Home and Abroad
It is an established fact that investors favor the familiar%u2014be it domestic securities or, within a country, the securities of nearby firms%u2014and avoid investments that would provide the greatest diversification benefits. While we do not rule out familiarity as an important driver of portfolio allocations, we provide new evidence of investors%u2019 international diversification motive. In particular, our analysis of the security-level U.S. equity holdings of foreign and domestic institutional investors indicates that institutional investors reveal a preference for domestic multinationals (MNCs), even after controlling for familiarity factors. We attribute this revealed preference to the desire to obtain %u201Csafe%u201D international diversification. We then show that holdings of domestic MNCs are substantial and, after accounting for this home-grown foreign exposure, that the share of %u201Cforeign%u201D equities in investors%u2019 portfolios roughly doubles, reducing (but not eliminating) the observed home bias.
- The home bias puzzle is overstated by quantifying the foreign exposure U.S. investors obtain through the holdings of U.S. multinationals...
“Foreign Exposure through Domestic Equities”. Finance Research Letters.