I’m at the Australian Conference of Economists in Perth, where I’m presenting a paper on water policy. I went to a paper today on ‘home bias’ and the International Capital Asset Pricing Model. The general home bias story is that most people hold most of their assets in their own country, when standard theory suggests the optimal portfolio should be much the same for everyone, regardless of location.
Following this up, this suggests that everyone should hold assets in a given country in proportion to its vaue share in the total world market (about 2 per cent for Australia).
It struck me that there’s a paradox here. Suppose I’m considering investing in two overseas stock markets with similar characteristics (mean return, variance, covariance with the Australian market). It seems obvious that I should invest the same amount in each market. But, if you accept ICAPM this is wrong, unless the two markets have the same capitalisation. ICAPM implies that I should invest more in whichever market is larger.
The paradox can be resolved if larger markets are more stable, but casual observation doesn’t support this. Has anyone seen this issue addressed?