Information Immobility and the Home Bias Puzzle
Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh
New York University Stern School of Business, Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
New York University - Stern School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
NYU Working Paper No. FIN-04-026
Many explanations for home or local bias rely on information asymmetry: investors know more about their home assets. A criticism of these theories is that asymmetry should disappear when information is tradable. This criticism is flawed. If investors have asymmetric prior beliefs, but choose how to allocate limited learning capacity before investing, they will not necessarily learn foreign information. Investors want to exploit increasing returns to specialization: The bigger the home information advantage, the more desirable are home assets; but the more home assets investors expect to own, the higher the value of additional home information. Even with a tiny home information advantage, and even when foreign information is no harder to learn, many investors will specialize in home assets, remain uninformed about foreign assets, and amplify their initial information asymmetry. The more investors can learn, the more home biased their portfolios become. The model's predictions are consistent with observed patterns of foreign investment, returns, and portfolio flows.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
Date posted: November 3, 2008