The Performance of International Equity Portfolios
This paper evaluates the performance of U.S. investors' portfolios in the equities of over 40 countries over a 25-year period. We find that these portfolios achieved a significantly higher Sharpe ratio than foreign benchmarks, especially since 1990. We uncover three potential reasons for this success. First, U.S. investors abstained from momentum trading and instead sold past winners. Second, conditional performance tests provide no evidence that the superior (unconditional) performance owed to private information, suggesting that the successful exploitation of publicly available information ...
The return on U.S. direct investment at home and abroad
A longstanding puzzle is that the United States is a net borrower from the rest of the world, yet continues to receive income on its external position. A large difference between the yields on direct investment at home and abroad is responsible and this paper examines potential explanations for this differential. We find that most of the differential disappears after one adjusts for the U.S. taxes owed by the parent on foreign earnings, the sovereign risk and sunk costs associated with investing abroad, and the age of foreign direct investment in the U.S.. Taken together, our results suggest ...
How long can the unsustainable U.S. current account deficit be sustained?
This paper addresses three questions about the prospects for the U.S. current account deficit. Is it sustainable in the long term? If not, how long will it take for measures of external debt and debt service to reach levels that could prompt some pullback by global investors? And if and when such levels are breached, how readily would asset prices respond and the current account start to narrow? ; To address these questions, we start with projections of a detailed partial-equilibrium model of the U.S. balance of payments. Based on plausible assumptions of the key drivers of the U.S. external ...
Current account sustainability and relative reliability
The sustainability of the large and persistent U.S. current account deficits is one of the biggest issues currently being confronted by international macroeconomists. Some very plausible theories suggest that the substantial global imbalances can continue in a benign manner, other equally plausible theories predict a disorderly resolution, and in general it is very difficult to discern between competing theories. To inform the debates, we view competing theories through the perspective of the relative reliability of the data the theories rely on. Our analysis of the dark matter theory is ...
International relative price levels: a look under the hood
This paper examines the structure of international relative price levels using purchasing power parities (PPP) at the product-level from the 2005 World Bank?s International Comparison Program (ICP). Our examination is motivated by questions arising from two applications using economy-wide PPPs: the measurement of real effective exchange rates (REERs) and the correlation between prices and development. Specifically, how would our view on competitiveness be affected if one were to use PPP measures that exclude non-tradable categories? Is it the case that an increase in per-capita income raises ...
Measuring U.S. international relative prices: a WARP view of the world
In this paper we construct a new measure of U.S. prices relative to those of its trading partners and use it to reexamine the behavior of U.S. net exports. Our measure differs from existing measures of the dollar's real effective exchange rate (REER) in that it explicitly incorporates both the difference in price levels between the United States and developing economies and the growing importance of these developing economies in world trade. Unlike existing REERs, our measure shows that relative U.S. prices have increased significantly over the past 15 years. In terms of simple correlations, ...
U.S. international equity investment and past prospective returns
Counter to extant stylized facts, using newly available data on country allocations in U.S. investors' foreign equity portfolios we find that (i) U.S. investors do not exhibit returns-chasing behavior, but, consistent with partial portfolio rebalancing, tend to sell past winners; and (ii) U.S. investors increase portfolio weights on a country's equity market just prior to its strong performance, behavior inconsistent with an informational disadvantage. Over the past two decades, U.S. investors' foreign equity portfolios outperformed a value-weighted foreign benchmark by 160 basis points per ...
The sovereignty option: the Quebec referendum and market views on the Canadian dollar
We use exchange traded options on Canadian dollar futures to estimate the market's risk-neutral distribution for the Canadian dollar in the days before and after the Quebec sovereignty referendum. We employ a relatively new technique that places little a priori structure on the estimated distribution. This lack of structure allows the estimated distribution to reflect the multi-modal nature of expectations associated with the referendum's results. The technique is especially suited to circumstances in which a particular event will reduce a large degree of uncertainty prior to the expiration ...
U.S. international transactions in 1994
War and peace: recovering the market's probability distribution of crude oil futures prices during the Gulf crisis
This paper investigates the market's expectations for oil prices during the Persian Gulf crisis. To do so a general method for using options markets to recover the implied distribution for futures prices is developed. The method applies to a wide class of distributions. In particular, it is not limited to those distributions arising from diffusion or jump-diffusion processes.