Rumours of the Death of the American Public Company are Greatly Exaggerated

33 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2018 Last revised: 14 Apr 2019

See all articles by Brian R. Cheffins

Brian R. Cheffins

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: August 3, 2018


The public company has historically been a crucial element of the American economy. Various predictions have been made recently that the public company’s future is bleak. This essay maintains these gloomy conjectures are erroneous. Companies leave the stock market by way of public-to-private buyouts with some regularity but large firms are rarely affected. Prosperous start-up companies are delaying joining the stock market but nevertheless usually end up in the public domain. There are considerably fewer public companies now than there were twenty years ago. Based, however, on the ratio of aggregate market capitalization to gross domestic product, the public company is currently as important relative to the U.S. economy as it ever have been, if not more so.

Keywords: public companies, corporate governance, private equity, initial public offerings

JEL Classification: G34, K22, M13

Suggested Citation

Cheffins, Brian R., Rumours of the Death of the American Public Company are Greatly Exaggerated (August 3, 2018). Company Laywer, Forthcoming, University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 53/2018, European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) - Law Working Paper No. 444/2019, Available at SSRN:

Brian R. Cheffins (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

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European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

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