Infrequent Random Portfolio Decisions in an Open Economy Model

Philippe Bacchetta, University of Lausanne, Swiss Finance Institute and CEPR, Eric van Wincoop, University of Virginia and NBER, Eric R. Young, University of Virginia

We introduce a portfolio friction in a two-country DSGE model where investors face a constant probability to make new portfolio decisions. The friction leads to a more gradual portfolio adjustment to shocks and a weaker portfolio response to changes in expected excess returns. We apply the model to monthly data for the US and rest of the world for equity portfolios. We show that the model is consistent with a broad set of evidence related to portfolios, equity prices and excess returns for an intermediate level of the friction. The evidence includes portfolio inertia, limited sensitivity to expected excess returns, a significant impact of financial shocks, excess return predictability, and asset price momentum and reversal.