The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover 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 argues that recent movements in closed-end emerging markets funds present a strong challenge to the leading explanations of the behavior of closed-end country fund prices. In particular, closed-end funds dedicated to Mexico and other Latin American stock markets developed large premia after the December 1994 devaluation of the Mexican peso and the subsequent financial crisis. The so-called 'investor sentiment hypothesis' could explain these events only by suggesting that investors became very optimistic about emerging markets stocks, and especially Mexican stocks; this possibility seems unlikely given the facts surrounding the devaluation. We argue instead that a sensible explanation for recent dynamics of closed-end country funds is that investors in these funds are loss-averse, implying that they do not want to realize paper losses on their closed-end fund shares. This works to put a drag on the downward movement in closed-end fund prices.