Why Do Foreign Firms Have Less Idiosyncratic Risk than U.S. Firms?

51 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2009

See all articles by Söhnke M. Bartram

Söhnke M. Bartram

Warwick Business School - Department of Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Gregory W. Brown

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Finance Area

René M. Stulz

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 22, 2009

Abstract

Using a large panel of firms across the world from 1991-2006, we show that the median foreign firm has lower idiosyncratic risk than a comparable U.S. firm. Country characteristics help explain variation in the level of idiosyncratic risk, but less so than firm characteristics. Idiosyncratic risk falls as government stability and respect for the rule of law improve. Idiosyncratic risk is positively related to stock market development but negatively related to bond market development. Surprisingly, we find that idiosyncratic risk is generally negatively related to corporate disclosure quality. Finally, idiosyncratic risk generally increases with shareholder protection. Though there is evidence that R2 increases with creditor rights and falls with the quality of disclosure, these results are driven by the relations between these variables and systematic risk rather than by the impact of these variables on idiosyncratic risk.

JEL Classification: E44, G12, G14, G15, G32

Suggested Citation

Bartram, Söhnke M. and Brown, Gregory W. and Stulz, Rene M., Why Do Foreign Firms Have Less Idiosyncratic Risk than U.S. Firms? (April 22, 2009). Fisher College of Business Working Paper No. 2009-03-005; Charles A. Dice Center Working Paper No. 2009-5; WBS Finance Group Research Paper No. 123. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1393455 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1393455

Söhnke M. Bartram

Warwick Business School - Department of Finance ( email )

Coventry, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
+44 (24) 7657 4168 (Phone)
+1 425 952 1070 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://go.warwick.ac.uk/sbartram/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Gregory W. Brown

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Finance Area ( email )

Kenan-Flagler Business School
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States

Rene M. Stulz (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1144
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.cob.ohio-state.edu/fin/faculty/stulz

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

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