On the distributional properties of size, profit and growth of Icelandic firms

  • Einar Jón Erlingsson
  • Simone Alfarano
  • Marco Raberto
  • Hlynur Stefánsson
Regular Article


In this paper, we analyze the distributional properties of the balance sheets of Icelandic firms by performing an empirical analysis of total assets, profit rates and growth rates using a data set of 2,818 Icelandic firms during the period 2000–2009. We find that the firms size measure, i.e. total assets, have the same heavy tail characteristics as various studies have shown, e.g. for US and Italian firms. The heavy tail nature of the total assets distribution seems to be robust w.r.t. a boom-bust cycle of the economy as well as special characteristics of Icelandic firms, e.g. their relatively small size and private ownership. Another important finding is that the profit rates, or return on assets, of Icelandic firms follow a Laplace like distribution similar to US firms. Additionally, we identified deviations from the distributional regularities, namely the power law behavior of firms’ size and Laplacian distributions of growth and profit rates, during the booming period of the economy 2005–2007.


Firm size Profit rates Growth rates Power law Laplace distribution Icelandic firms 

JEL Classification

C12 D01 D22 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Einar Jón Erlingsson
    • 1
  • Simone Alfarano
    • 2
  • Marco Raberto
    • 3
  • Hlynur Stefánsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Reykjavik UniversityReykjavíkIceland
  2. 2.Universitat Jaume ICastellónSpain
  3. 3.DIME-DOGE.IUniversità à di GenovaGenoaItaly

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