The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper revisits the relative importance of global versus country-specific factors underlying stock returns. It constructs a new firm level data set covering emerging and developed markets and estimates a simple factor model, which breaks down stock returns into a global business cycle factor, global industry factors, country-specific factors and firm-level effects. The results indicate that the share of variation in stock returns explained by global industry factors has grown sharply since the mid-1990s, at the expense of country-specific factors. Foremost among the global factors is a “new economy” factor, which has become a key determinant of global stock returns.