Private Equity's Unintended Dark Side: On the Economic Consequences of Excessive Delistings
Over the past two decades, the U.S. stock market has been shrinking as the public firm model has begun to fall out of favor. We develop a political economy model of delistings to study the wider economic consequences of this trend. We show that the private and social incentives to delist firms from the stock market need not be aligned. Delistings can inadvertently impose an externality on the economy by reducing citizen-investors’ exposure to corporate profits and thereby undermining popular support for business-friendly policies. By facilitating companies’ departures from the stock market, private equity firms can trigger a chain of events that may lead to long-term reductions in aggregate investment, productivity, and employment.
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This paper was revised on December 1, 2016
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21909