NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Professor Zipf goes to Wall Street

Yannick Malevergne, Pedro Santa-Clara, Didier Sornette

NBER Working Paper No. 15295
Issued in August 2009
NBER Program(s):   AP

The heavy-tailed distribution of firm sizes first discovered by Zipf (1949) is one of the best established empirical facts in economics. We show that it has strong implications for asset pricing. Due to the concentration of the market portfolio when the distribution of the capitalization of firms is sufficiently heavy-tailed, an additional risk factor generically appears even for very large economies. Our two-factor model is as successful empirically as the three-factor Fama-French model.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15295

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