Local Economic Conditions and Local Equity Preferences: Evidence from Mutual Funds during the U.S. Housing Boom and Bust
48 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2017
Date Written: December 2016
This paper examines the impact of local economic conditions on mutual fund preferences for geographically proximate stocks and consequently fund performance. Specifically, we demonstrate that mutual funds favouritism towards firms located within close geographic proximity varies with local housing price shocks. A decrease in local house prices is strongly associated with an increase in mutual fund home bias and results in a portfolio adjustment towards safer and higher quality holdings. This previously undocumented behavioral bias is of first order importance, as the shift in mutual fund preferences towards local stocks induced by deterioration in local economic conditions is associated with mutual fund underperformance: a one percentage point increase in home bias causes a decrease in a fund’s characteristic-adjusted 3-month future return by 35.3 bps.
Keywords: Home Bias, Investor Behaviour, Local Information Advantage, Non-Fundamental Information, House Prices
JEL Classification: F30, G15, G23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation