Why are U.S. Stocks More Volatile?

50 Pages Posted: 2 May 2013

See all articles by Söhnke M. Bartram

Söhnke M. Bartram

University of Warwick; 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 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 5, 2011

Abstract

U.S. stocks are more volatile than stocks of similar foreign firms. A firm’s stock return volatility can be higher for reasons that contribute positively (good volatility) or negatively (bad volatility) to shareholder wealth and economic growth. We find that the volatility of U.S. firms is higher mostly because of good volatility. Specifically, firm stock volatility is higher in the U.S. because it increases with investor protection, stock market development, new patents, and firm-level investment in R&D. These are all factors that are related to better growth opportunities for firms and better ability to take advantage of these opportunities.

Keywords: Firm risk, volatility, idiosyncratic risk, R-squared

JEL Classification: G12, G15

Suggested Citation

Bartram, Söhnke M. and Brown, Gregory W. and Stulz, Rene M., Why are U.S. Stocks More Volatile? (July 5, 2011). Journal of Finance, Vol. 67, No. 4, 2012, pp. 1329-1370, WBS Finance Group Research Paper No. 203, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2257549

Söhnke M. Bartram

University of Warwick ( email )

Warwick Business School
Finance Group
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 the Royal Academies of Belgium
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1000 Brussels
Belgium

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