Public versus Private Equity

32 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2019 Last revised: 24 Nov 2019

See all articles by René M. Stulz

René M. Stulz

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: November 12, 2019


The last twenty years or so have seen a sharp decline in public equity. I present a framework that explains the forces that cause the listing propensity of firms to change over time. This framework highlights the benefits and costs of a public listing compared to the benefits and costs of financing with private equity. With this framework, the decline in public equity is explained by the increased supply of funds for private equity and changes in the nature of firms. The increase in the importance of intangible assets makes it costlier for young firms to be public when the alternative is funding through private equity from investors who have specialized knowledge that enables them to better understand the business model of young firms and contribute to the development of that business model in contrast to passive public equity investors.

Keywords: public equity, private equity, listing, agency costs, IPO, intangible assets

JEL Classification: G17, G18, G12, G32, K22

Suggested Citation

Stulz, Rene M., Public versus Private Equity (November 12, 2019). Fisher College of Business Working Paper No. 2019-03-027, Charles A. Dice Center Working Paper No. 2019-27, European Corporate Governance Institute – Finance Working Paper No. 640/2019, Available at SSRN: or

Rene M. Stulz (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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