Private Inequity: Private Markets and the Death of the Micro-Cap Stock

40 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2020 Last revised: 5 Feb 2021

Date Written: July 13, 2020


This paper examines the decline in publicly listed equities in the United States with respect to both the public and private markets. Public equities have halved in count in the U.S. between the mid-1990s and today, with a paucity of small stocks limiting access to high-growth opportunities for common investors. The paper finds that the decrease in listed equities is more likely to be attributable to a lack of new entrants via IPOs than it is to be due to increased de-listing activity via mergers and acquisitions, liquidations, and involuntary de-listing. Furthermore, this shift is shown to be driven by micro-cap stocks, which once drove initial public offering volume. The second half of the paper reviews the role of the private markets in abetting micro-caps’ abstention of the public markets, identifying growth in follow-on funding and secondary liquidity as potential factors for further analysis.

Keywords: Private Markets, Alternative Investments, Micro-Cap Stocks, Startups, Private Equity

JEL Classification: G10

Suggested Citation

Blecher, Robert, Private Inequity: Private Markets and the Death of the Micro-Cap Stock (July 13, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Robert Blecher (Contact Author)

Syracuse University ( email )

United States

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