Convergence in Global Capital Markets
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In chapter 1, we show (i) that the risk-return characteristics of our sample of 17 developed stock markets of the world have converged significantly toward each other during our study period 1974 2004, and (ii) that this international convergence in risk-return characteristics is driven mainly by the declining country effect, rather than the rising industry effect, suggesting that the convergence is associated with international market integration. Specifically, we first compute the risk-return distance among international stock markets based on the Euclidean distance and find that the distance thus computed has been deceasing significantly over time, implying a mean-variance convergence. In particular, the average risk-return distance has decreased by about 43% over our sample period. The speed of convergence, however, varies greatly across individual markets, largely reflecting the initial distance of each individual market from the international average risk-return characteristic. Lastly, we document that the risk-return characteristics of our sample of 14 emerging markets have been converging rapidly toward those of developed markets in recent years. This development notwithstanding, emerging markets still remain as a distinct asset class. In chapter 2, we examine the historical evolution of international earnings-to-price ratios for a sample of 17 markets over the period 1980 2004. We introduce a distance measure of earnings-to-price ratios among international stock markets and find that earnings-to-price ratios of 17 markets have significantly converged toward each other during the period. The average distance measure for 17 markets has decreased by about 80 percent during the period. The speed of convergence for individual markets varies and mainly reflects the initial distance of individual markets from the international average. We also find that although both country and industry effects account for convergence in earnings-to-price ratios among the sample markets, country effect dominates industry effect in terms of the magnitude. We further examine what could explain the declining country effect and document that the time trend of dividend-yield distance measure closely follows that of earnings-to-price distance measure. This result suggests that convergence in earnings-to-price ratio is mainly due to convergence in economic factors such as growth opportunities or discount rates rather than due to convergence in accounting practices.