IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The smallest firm effect: An international study

  • De Moor, Lieven
  • Sercu, Piet

Using a carefully screened and filtered international database with a wide coverage across countries and size classes, this paper identifies and documents a post-1980s size effect which is persistent, not picked up by a Fama–French-style SMB, and largely due to the smallest-decile stocks. We test for potential explanations (such as market risk, infrequent trading, financial distress risk, missing book values, momentum, liquidity risk, changing business conditions, January effect, exchange risk, time-varying risk loadings and dividend yield effects), but none can quite explain the international size effect, whether separately or jointly. Fully identifying the missing risk factor is beyond the scope of this paper but we do find that dividend yield shows up as a significant characteristic in the cross-section of risk-adjusted returns, even after controlling for time-varying risk loadings linearly related to dividend yield. When we construct two ad-hoc risk factors that jointly capture the documented size effect, and then correlate these factors with characteristics-based portfolios, we likewise find that especially dividend yield seems to play an important role in the missing risk factor. More generally, this paper revives the debate on the small-firm effect and, we hope, will stimulate further research on a class of stocks that are too interesting to ignore.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261560612000794
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Money and Finance.

Volume (Year): 32 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 129-155

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jimfin:v:32:y:2013:i:c:p:129-155
DOI: 10.1016/j.jimonfin.2012.04.002
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30443

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Lubos Pastor & Robert F. Stambaugh, 2001. "Liquidity Risk and Expected Stock Returns," NBER Working Papers 8462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Andrew Clare & Richard Priestley, . "Risk factors in the Malaysian stock market," CERF Discussion Paper Series 97-03, Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University.
  3. Gabriel Hawawini & Pierre Michel & Albert Corhay, . "A Look at the Validity of the CAPM in Light of Equity Market Anomalies: The Case of Belgian Common Stocks," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 10-88, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  4. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
  5. Nai-Fu Chen & Bruce Grundy & Robert F Stambaugh, . "Changing Risk, Changing Risk Premiums, and Dividend Yield Effects," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 26-88, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  6. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
  7. Chan, Louis K C & Hamao, Yasushi & Lakonishok, Josef, 1991. " Fundamentals and Stock Returns in Japan," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(5), pages 1739-64, December.
  8. Roll, Richard, 1977. "A critique of the asset pricing theory's tests Part I: On past and potential testability of the theory," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 129-176, March.
  9. Amihud, Yakov, 2002. "Illiquidity and stock returns: cross-section and time-series effects," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 31-56, January.
  10. Elfakhani, Said & Lockwood, Larry J & Zaher, Tarek S, 1998. "Small Firm and Value Effects in the Canadian Stock Market," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 21(3), pages 277-91, Fall.
  11. Cohen, Kalman J. & Hawawini, Gabriel A. & Maier, Steven F. & Schwartz, Robert A. & Whitcomb, David K., 1983. "Friction in the trading process and the estimation of systematic risk," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 263-278, August.
  12. Wahlroos, Bjorn & Berglund, Tom, 1986. "Anomalies and equilibrium returns in a small stock market," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 423-440, October.
  13. Steven Heston & K. Rouwenhorst & Roberto Wessels, 2008. "The Role of Beta and Size in the Cross-Section of European Stock Returns," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm86, Yale School of Management.
  14. Ritter, Jay R & Chopra, Navin, 1989. " Portfolio Rebalancing and the Turn-of-the-Year Effect," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(1), pages 149-66, March.
  15. Lee, Kuan-Hui, 2011. "The world price of liquidity risk," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 136-161, January.
  16. Ron Giammarino & Murray Carlson & Adlai Fisher, 2004. "Corporate Investment and Asset Price Dynamics: Implications for Post-SEO Performance," 2004 Meeting Papers 812, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. Merton, Robert C, 1973. "An Intertemporal Capital Asset Pricing Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(5), pages 867-87, September.
  18. Lesmond, David A & Ogden, Joseph P & Trzcinka, Charles A, 1999. "A New Estimate of Transaction Costs," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(5), pages 1113-41.
  19. Solnik, Bruno H., 1974. "An equilibrium model of the international capital market," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 500-524, August.
  20. Jonathan Berk & Richard C. Green & Vasant Naik, . "Optimal Investment, Growth Options and Security Returns," GSIA Working Papers 64, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  21. Rozeff, Michael S. & Kinney, William Jr., 1976. "Capital market seasonality: The case of stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 379-402, October.
  22. Blume, Marshall E, 1980. "Stock Returns and Dividend Yields: Some More Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(4), pages 567-77, November.
  23. Lo, Andrew W & MacKinlay, A Craig, 1990. "Data-Snooping Biases in Tests of Financial Asset Pricing Models," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(3), pages 431-67.
  24. John Y. Campbell & Jens Hilscher & Jan Szilagyi, 2005. "In Searach of Distress Risk," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2081, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  25. Acharya, Viral V. & Pedersen, Lasse Heje, 2005. "Asset pricing with liquidity risk," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 375-410, August.
  26. Brown, Philip & Kleidon, Allan W. & Marsh, Terry A., 1983. "New evidence on the nature of size-related anomalies in stock prices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 33-56, June.
  27. Gomes, Joao F & Kogan, Leonid & Zhang, Lu, 2002. "Equilibrium Cross-Section of Returns," CEPR Discussion Papers 3482, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  28. Lamoureux, Christopher G & Sanger, Gary C, 1989. " Firm Size and Turn-of-the-Year Effects in the OTC/NASDAQ Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(5), pages 1219-45, December.
  29. Sias, Richard W & Starks, Laura T, 1997. " Institutions and Individuals at the Turn-of-the-Year," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(4), pages 1543-62, September.
  30. Geert Bekaert & Campbell R. Harvey & Christian Lundblad, 2005. "Liquidity and Expected Returns: Lessons From Emerging Markets," NBER Working Papers 11413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Naranjo, Andy & Porter, Burt, 2010. "Risk factor and industry effects in the cross-country comovement of momentum returns," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 275-299, March.
  32. Jagannathan, Ravi & Wang, Zhenyu, 1996. " The Conditional CAPM and the Cross-Section of Expected Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 3-53, March.
  33. Martin Lettau & Sydney Ludvigson, 2001. "Resurrecting the (C)CAPM: A Cross-Sectional Test When Risk Premia Are Time-Varying," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(6), pages 1238-1287, December.
  34. ., 2007. "Population, Migration, and Globalization," Chapters, in: Ecological Economics and Sustainable Development, Selected Essays of Herman Daly, chapter 22 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  35. Amihud, Yakov & Mendelson, Haim, 1986. "Asset pricing and the bid-ask spread," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 223-249, December.
  36. Merton, Robert C, 1987. " A Simple Model of Capital Market Equilibrium with Incomplete Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(3), pages 483-510, July.
  37. Sadka, Ronnie, 2006. "Momentum and post-earnings-announcement drift anomalies: The role of liquidity risk," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 309-349, May.
  38. Barry, Christopher B. & Goldreyer, Elizabeth & Lockwood, Larry & Rodriguez, Mauricio, 2002. "Robustness of size and value effects in emerging equity markets, 1985-2000," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, March.
  39. Ross, Stephen A., 1976. "The arbitrage theory of capital asset pricing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 341-360, December.
  40. Chan, K C & Chen, Nai-Fu, 1991. " Structural and Return Characteristics of Small and Large Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(4), pages 1467-84, September.
  41. Reinganum, Marc R., 1981. "Misspecification of capital asset pricing : Empirical anomalies based on earnings' yields and market values," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 19-46, March.
  42. James M. Poterba, 2001. "Capital Gains Tax Rules, Tax-loss Trading, and Turn-of-the-year Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 353-368, 02.
  43. Schwert, G. William, 2003. "Anomalies and market efficiency," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 15, pages 939-974 Elsevier.
  44. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1995. " Size and Book-to-Market Factors in Earnings and Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(1), pages 131-55, March.
  45. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1985. "An Intertemporal General Equilibrium Model of Asset Prices," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 363-84, March.
  46. repec:sae:ausman:v:28:y:2003:i:2:p:119-139 is not listed on IDEAS
  47. ., 2007. "Beck’s Case Against Immigration," Chapters, in: Ecological Economics and Sustainable Development, Selected Essays of Herman Daly, chapter 17 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  48. Brennan, Michael J. & Subrahmanyam, Avanidhar, 1996. "Market microstructure and asset pricing: On the compensation for illiquidity in stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 441-464, July.
  49. Keim, Donald B., 1985. "Dividend yields and stock returns: Implications of abnormal January returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 473-489, September.
  50. Murray Carlson & Adlai Fisher & Ron Giammarino, 2004. "Corporate Investment and Asset Price Dynamics: Implications for the Cross-section of Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(6), pages 2577-2603, December.
  51. Rubio, Gonzalo, 1988. "Further international evidence on asset pricing : The case of the Spanish capital market," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 221-242, June.
  52. Breeden, Douglas T., 1979. "An intertemporal asset pricing model with stochastic consumption and investment opportunities," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 265-296, September.
  53. Tyler Shumway & Vincent A. Warther, 1999. "The Delisting Bias in CRSP's Nasdaq Data and Its Implications for the Size Effect," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(6), pages 2361-2379, December.
  54. Andy Naranjo & M. Nimalendran & Mike Ryngaert, 1998. "Stock Returns, Dividend Yields, and Taxes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 2029-2057, December.
  55. van Dijk, Mathijs A., 2011. "Is size dead? A review of the size effect in equity returns," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 3263-3274.
  56. Dimson, Elroy, 1979. "Risk measurement when shares are subject to infrequent trading," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 197-226, June.
  57. Lewellen, Jonathan & Nagel, Stefan, 2003. "The Conditional CAPM Does Not Explain Asset-pricing Anomalies," Working papers 4427-03, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  58. Said Elfakhani & Larry J. Lockwood & Tarek S. Zaher, 1998. "Small Firm And Value Effects In The Canadian Stock Market," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 21(3), pages 277-291, 09.
  59. Kewei Hou & Tobias J. Moskowitz, 2005. "Market Frictions, Price Delay, and the Cross-Section of Expected Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(3), pages 981-1020.
  60. Akiko Watanabe & Masahiro Watanabe, 2008. "Time-Varying Liquidity Risk and the Cross Section of Stock Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(6), pages 2449-2486, November.
  61. Chan, K. C. & Chen, Nai-fu & Hsieh, David A., 1985. "An exploratory investigation of the firm size effect," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 451-471, September.
  62. Hillier, David & Marshall, Andrew, 2002. "Insider trading, tax-loss selling, and the turn-of-the-year effect," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 73-84.
  63. Knez, Peter J & Ready, Mark J, 1997. " On the Robustness of Size and Book-to-Market in Cross-Sectional Regressions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(4), pages 1355-82, September.
  64. K. Geert Rouwenhorst, 1999. "Local Return Factors and Turnover in Emerging Stock Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1439-1464, 08.
  65. Brown, Philip & Keim, Donald B. & Kleidon, Allan W. & Marsh, Terry A., 1983. "Stock return seasonalities and the tax-loss selling hypothesis : Analysis of the arguments and Australian evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 105-127, June.
  66. Herrera, Martin J. & Lockwood, Larry J., 1994. "The size effect in the Mexican stock market," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 621-632, September.
  67. Horowitz, Joel L. & Loughran, Tim & Savin, N. E., 2000. "Three analyses of the firm size premium," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 143-153, August.
  68. John M. Griffin & Xiuqing Ji & J. Spencer Martin, 2003. "Momentum Investing and Business Cycle Risk: Evidence from Pole to Pole," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(6), pages 2515-2547, December.
  69. Tano Santos & Pietro Veronesi, 2006. "Labor Income and Predictable Stock Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 19(1), pages 1-44.
  70. Eleswarapu, Venkat R. & Reinganum, Marc R., 1993. "The seasonal behavior of the liquidity premium in asset pricing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 373-386, December.
  71. Chen, Nai-Fu & Roll, Richard & Ross, Stephen A, 1986. "Economic Forces and the Stock Market," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 383-403, July.
  72. Ozgur S. Ince & R. Burt Porter, 2006. "INDIVIDUAL EQUITY RETURN DATA FROM THOMSON DATASTREAM: HANDLE WITH CARE!," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 29(4), pages 463-479.
  73. William F. Sharpe, 1964. "Capital Asset Prices: A Theory Of Market Equilibrium Under Conditions Of Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 19(3), pages 425-442, 09.
  74. John M. Griffin, 2002. "Are the Fama and French Factors Global or Country Specific?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(3), pages 783-803.
  75. Daniel, Kent & Titman, Sheridan, 1997. " Evidence on the Characteristics of Cross Sectional Variation in Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 1-33, March.
  76. Christie, William G., 1990. "Dividend yield and expected returns *1: The zero-dividend puzzle," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1-2), pages 95-125.
  77. Ferson, Wayne E & Schadt, Rudi W, 1996. " Measuring Fund Strategy and Performance in Changing Economic Conditions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(2), pages 425-61, June.
  78. Brooks, Robert D. & Faff, Robert W. & Fry, Tim R. L., 2001. "GARCH modelling of individual stock data: the impact of censoring, firm size and trading volume," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 215-222, June.
  79. Ralitsa Petkova, 2006. "Do the Fama-French Factors Proxy for Innovations in Predictive Variables?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(2), pages 581-612, 04.
  80. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1992. " The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 427-65, June.
  81. Keim, Donald B., 1983. "Size-related anomalies and stock return seasonality : Further empirical evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 13-32, June.
  82. Maria Vassalou & Yuhang Xing, 2004. "Default Risk in Equity Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(2), pages 831-868, 04.
  83. Banz, Rolf W., 1981. "The relationship between return and market value of common stocks," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 3-18, March.
  84. Liu, Weimin, 2006. "A liquidity-augmented capital asset pricing model," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 631-671, December.
  85. Hirshleifer, David, 2001. "Investor Psychology and Asset Pricing," MPRA Paper 5300, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  86. Lau, Sie Ting & Lee, Chee Tong & McInish, Thomas H., 2002. "Stock returns and beta, firms size, E/P, CF/P, book-to-market, and sales growth: evidence from Singapore and Malaysia," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 207-222, July.
  87. Pinfold, John F. & Wilson, William R. & Li, Qiuli, 2001. "Book-to-market and size as determinants of returns in small illiquid markets: the New Zealand case," Financial Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(1-4), pages 291-302.
  88. Scholes, Myron & Williams, Joseph, 1977. "Estimating betas from nonsynchronous data," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 309-327, December.
  89. Ilia D. Dichev, 1998. "Is the Risk of Bankruptcy a Systematic Risk?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(3), pages 1131-1147, 06.
  90. Fama, Eugene F & MacBeth, James D, 1973. "Risk, Return, and Equilibrium: Empirical Tests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 607-36, May-June.
  91. Jorion, Philippe, 1990. "The Exchange-Rate Exposure of U.S. Multinationals," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(3), pages 331-45, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jimfin:v:32:y:2013:i:c:p:129-155. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.