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Determinants of worldwide foreign equity portfolio holdings and impact of foreign equity porfolio flows on global financial linkages of emerging markets

By Chandra Thapa


This thesis comprises of four empirical studies. The first three empirical studies identify and investigate the role of different factors explaining the cross sectional and temporal variation of foreign equity portfolio holdings for thirty-six developed and developing host countries. The fourth empirical study demonstrates the impact of foreign equity flows on global financial linkages of four Asian emerging markets. Our first three empirical studies use foreign equity portfolio holding data on 36 host countries and employ different panel data models. Our survey of the literature shows that only few studies (two to the best of our knowledge) have modelled the bilateral cross-country foreign equity portfolio holdings on a global basis. Further, unlike previous studies, which use cross-section models, we test all our hypotheses using relatively more efficient random effect and more robust fixed effect panel data models. The first empirical study examines three hypotheses demonstrating the association between three different components of transaction costs (commission, fees and market impact) and foreign equity portfolio allocation (FEPA). To the best of our knowledge, we are first to comprehensively test the role of each of the components individually and collectively in modelling FEPA. Addressing several robustness issues, we show significant and robust effect of transaction costs with clear evidence that foreign investors tend to underweight countries with higher transaction costs. In our second empirical study we test five hypotheses investigating the role of country specific equity market characteristics (CSEMC) in explaining FEPA. We use five different variables as proxy of CSEMC, such as stock market development/size, market liquidity, emerging market dummy, equity return volatility and exchange rate volatility. We are first to use the later two volatility measures in modelling FEPA. Consistent with theory, the results show that all the CSEMC factors tend to have strong and statistically significant effect on foreign equity portfolio allocation decisions. Our third empirical study investigates the relationship between investor protection and FEPA. The existing findings on the role of investor protection are highly controversial with divided views and contrasting conclusions. By including three different measures, we demonstrate that investor protection right, particularly the one specific to foreign investments, is also an important feature influencing allocation decisions. Finally, in our fourth empirical study we use daily foreign equity flow data for four Asian emerging markets. Application of co-integration and vector error correction (VEC) models provide strong indication that the increase in foreign equity flows is driving the global financial linkages of the Asian emerging markets. Using different variants of VEC model, our investigation also demonstrates that foreign investors in the selected Asian emerging markets engage in momentum trading strategy and flows have significant effect on the local equity market (price pressure hypothesis). Overall, our study concludes that stock market development features are the most important inputs in the worldwide foreign equity portfolio allocation decision. Furthermore, there is an indication that the growing foreign equity portfolio flows are, in part, responsible for the increasing global financial linkages of the Asian emerging markets

Publisher: Cranfield University
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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