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The Interrupted Power Law and The Size of Shadow Banking

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  • Davide Fiaschi
  • Imre Kondor
  • Matteo Marsili
  • Valerio Volpati

Abstract

Using public data (Forbes Global 2000) we show that the asset sizes for the largest global firms follow a Pareto distribution in an intermediate range, that is ``interrupted'' by a sharp cut-off in its upper tail, where it is totally dominated by financial firms. This flattening of the distribution contrasts with a large body of empirical literature which finds a Pareto distribution for firm sizes both across countries and over time. Pareto distributions are generally traced back to a mechanism of proportional random growth, based on a regime of constant returns to scale. This makes our findings of an ``interrupted'' Pareto distribution all the more puzzling, because we provide evidence that financial firms in our sample should operate in such a regime. We claim that the missing mass from the upper tail of the asset size distribution is a consequence of shadow banking activity and that it provides an (upper) estimate of the size of the shadow banking system. This estimate -- which we propose as a shadow banking index -- compares well with estimates of the Financial Stability Board until 2009, but it shows a sharper rise in shadow banking activity after 2010. Finally, we propose a proportional random growth model that reproduces the observed distribution, thereby providing a quantitative estimate of the intensity of shadow banking activity.

Suggested Citation

  • Davide Fiaschi & Imre Kondor & Matteo Marsili & Valerio Volpati, 2013. "The Interrupted Power Law and The Size of Shadow Banking," Papers 1309.2130, arXiv.org, revised Apr 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1309.2130
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Daniel Covitz & Nellie Liang & Tobias Adrian, 2015. "Financial Stability Monitoring," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 357-395, December.
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    6. Diego A. Restrepo-Tobón & Subal C. Kumbhakar & Kai Sun, 2013. "Are U.S. Commercial Banks Too Big?," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO CIEF 010943, UNIVERSIDAD EAFIT.
    7. Pozsar, Zoltan & Adrian, Tobias & Ashcraft, Adam B. & Boesky, Hayley, 2013. "Shadow banking," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 1-16.
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    8. David C. Wheelock & Paul W. Wilson, 2012. "Do Large Banks Have Lower Costs? New Estimates of Returns to Scale for U.S. Banks," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(1), pages 171-199, February.
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    1. repec:eee:finsta:v:35:y:2018:i:c:p:75-92 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Tobias Adrian & Adam B. Ashcraft & Nicola Cetorelli, 2013. "Shadow bank monitoring," Staff Reports 638, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    3. Carlos León, 2014. "Scale-free tails in Colombian financial indexes: A primer," Borradores de Economia 812, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    4. León, Carlos & Machado, Clara & Sarmiento, Miguel, 2018. "Identifying central bank liquidity super-spreaders in interbank funds networks," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 75-92.
    5. Davide Fiaschi & Imre Kondor & Matteo Marsili & Valerio Volpati, 2016. "The missing assets and the size of Shadow Banking: an update," Papers 1611.02760, arXiv.org.
    6. Gianfranco Battisti, 2014. "SHADOW BANKING - A Geographical Interpretation," ERSA conference papers ersa14p642, European Regional Science Association.
    7. Leon Rincon, C.E., 2015. "Financial stability from a network perspective," Other publications TiSEM bb2e4e44-e842-45c6-a946-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.

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