Capital markets in developing countries have become an important asset class. These emerging markets are commonly associated with high returns, high volatility, and diversification benefits for investors in developed markets. We used the Emerging Markets Data Base provided by the International Finance Corporation to examine the risk and return characteristics of emerging markets. Contrary to the results often presented in the popular press, we found that these markets have not produced high levels of compound returns relative to U.S. stock markets for the 20-year time period ending in June 1995. They have experienced a high level of volatility, but they also have consistently provided diversification benefits when combined with developed market portfolios.