April 2016

Political Conflict and Foreign Portfolio Investment: Evidence from North Korean Attacks

Jeffrey R. Gerlach and Youngsuk Yook


We examine the response of foreign investors to escalating political conflict and its impact on the South Korean stock market surrounding 13 North Korean military attacks between 1999 and 2010. Using domestic institutions and domestic individuals as benchmarks, we evaluate the trading behavior and performance of foreign investors. Following attacks, foreigners increase their holdings of Korean stocks and buy more shares of risky stocks. Performance results show foreigners maintain their pre-attack level of performance while domestic individuals, who make the overwhelming majority of domestic trades, perform worse. In addition, domestic institutions improve their performance. Overall, the results are consistent with the predictions based on the benefits of international diversification. Unlike domestic individuals, foreigners trade more shares than usual and deviate from their general strategy of positive feedback trading.

Accessible materials (.zip)

Keywords: Foreign portfolio investment, North Korean attacks, Political conflict

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2016.037

PDF: Full Paper

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Last Update: June 19, 2020