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Size Anomalies in U.S. Bank Stock Returns: A Fiscal Explanation

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  • Priyank Gandhi
  • Hanno Lustig

Abstract

The largest commercial bank stocks, ranked by total size of the balance sheet, have significantly lower risk-adjusted returns than small- and medium-sized bank stocks, even though large banks are significantly more levered. We uncover a size factor in the component of bank returns that is orthogonal to the standard risk factors, including small-minus-big, which has the right covariance with bank returns to explain the average risk-adjusted returns. This factor measures size-dependent exposure to bank-specific tail risk. These findings are consistent with government guarantees that protect shareholders of large banks, but not small banks, in disaster states.

Suggested Citation

  • Priyank Gandhi & Hanno Lustig, 2010. "Size Anomalies in U.S. Bank Stock Returns: A Fiscal Explanation," NBER Working Papers 16553, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16553
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    Cited by:

    1. Rüdiger Fahlenbrach & Robert Prilmeier & René M. Stulz, 2012. "This Time Is the Same: Using Bank Performance in 1998 to Explain Bank Performance during the Recent Financial Crisis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(6), pages 2139-2185, December.
    2. Apanard P. Prabha & Clas Wihlborg & Thomas D. Willett, 2012. "Market Discipline for Financial Institutions and Markets for Information," Chapters,in: Research Handbook on International Banking and Governance, chapter 13 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Adolfo Barajas & Thomas F. Cosimano & Dalia S Hakura & Sebastian Roelands, 2015. "The Role of Bank Capital in Bank Holding Companies’ Decisions," IMF Working Papers 15/57, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Ahmed, Javed I. & Anderson, Christopher W. & Zarutskie, Rebecca, 2015. "Are the Borrowing Costs of Large Financial Firms Unusual?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Schäfer, Alexander, 2016. "A SIFI Badge for Banks in Europe: Reduction in Bail-Out Expectations or Monumental Heritage Protection?," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145754, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. William B. English & Skander J. van den Heuvel & Egon Zakrajsek, 2012. "Interest rate risk and bank equity valuations," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-26, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. Ueda, Kenichi & Weder di Mauro, B., 2013. "Quantifying structural subsidy values for systemically important financial institutions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 3830-3842.
    8. Juliane M. Begenau, 2015. "Capital Requirements, Risk Choice, and Liquidity Provision in a Business Cycle Model," Harvard Business School Working Papers 15-072, Harvard Business School, revised Sep 2016.
    9. Juliane Begenau, 2015. "Capital Requirements, Risk Choice, and Liquidity Provision in a Business Cycle Model," 2015 Meeting Papers 687, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Löffler, Gunter & Posch, Peter N, 2013. "Wall Street’s bailout bet: Market reactions to house price releases in the presence of bailout expectations," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5147-5158.
    11. Woon Sau Leung & Nicholas Taylor, 2013. "Testing for contagion: the impact of US structured markets on international financial markets," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Empirical Finance, chapter 11, pages 256-284 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    12. Anat R. Admati & Peter M. DeMarzo & Martin F. Hellwig & Paul Pfleiderer, 2013. "Fallacies, Irrelevant Facts, and Myths in the Discussion of Capital Regulation: Why Bank Equity is Not Socially Expensive," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_23, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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