The Determinants of Cross-Border Equity Flows

36 Pages Posted: 29 Feb 2000 Last revised: 13 Oct 2010

See all articles by Richard Portes

Richard Portes

London Business School - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Hélène Rey

London Business School; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 1999

Abstract

We apply a new approach to a new panel data set on bilateral gross cross-border equity flows between 14 countries, 1989-96. The remarkably good results have strong implications for theories of asset trade. We find that the geography of information heavily determines the pattern of international transactions. Our model integrates elements of the finance literature on portfolio composition and the international macroeconomics and asset trade literature. Gross asset flows depend on market size in both source and destination country as well as trading costs, in which both information and the transaction technology play a role. The resulting augmented gravity' equation has equity market capitalisation representing market size and distance proxying some informational asymmetries, as well as a variable representing openness of each economy. But other variables explicitly represent information transmission (telephone call traffic and multinational bank branches), an information asymmetry between domestic and foreign investors (degree of insider trading), and the efficiency of transactions ( financial market sophistication'). This equation accounts for almost 70% of the variance of the transaction flows. Dummy variables (adjacency, language, currency or trade bloc, and a major financial centre' effect) do not improve the results, nor does a variable representing destination country stock market returns. The key role of informational asymmetries is confirmed. Our information transmission variables also substantially improve standard gravity equations for trade in goods.

Suggested Citation

Portes, Richard and Rey, Helene, The Determinants of Cross-Border Equity Flows (September 1999). NBER Working Paper No. w7336. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=196028

Richard Portes (Contact Author)

London Business School - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://faculty.london.edu/rportes/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Helene Rey

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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