Reversing the Decline of Canadian Public Markets

SPP Research Paper 14:3 (April 2021)

58 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2021

See all articles by Bryce Tingle, QC

Bryce Tingle, QC

University of Calgary - Faculty of Law

J. Ari Pandes

University of Calgary - Haskayne School of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 15, 2021


The public markets in Canada and the United States are booming right now, so why do so few companies want to join them? Public companies grow faster, innovate more, provide better jobs and access cheaper capital. If they don’t go public, companies must eventually sell themselves to larger competitors, resulting in economic concentration and, maybe, the loss of entire sectors to foreign buyers.

Since the 1990s, fewer companies in Canada, the U.S. and U.K. have chosen to go public. This has occurred even as the economic rewards of going public have increased. The simultaneous declines in very similar economies with different regulatory and institutional characteristics, suggest the causes are not being addressed in what has mostly been an American debate.

This paper argues that reforms to corporate governance and disclosure over the past forty years are primarily responsible for the growing unattractiveness of public markets. It takes agency cost theory seriously and examines the incentives operating on corporate managers around the going public decision. It finds many areas in the current public market system where significant costs are imposed on managers with, according to a well-established empirical literature, very few benefits to the firms themselves or their shareholders.

The paper concludes with recommendations for reform.

Keywords: corporate law, corporate governance, IPO, Initial Public Offering, Public Markets, Securities

JEL Classification: G24, G38, K22, M52, Z18

Suggested Citation

Tingle, Bryce and Pandes, J. Ari, Reversing the Decline of Canadian Public Markets (April 15, 2021). SPP Research Paper 14:3 (April 2021), Available at SSRN:

Bryce Tingle (Contact Author)

University of Calgary - Faculty of Law ( email )

Murray Fraser Hall
2500 University Dr. N.W.
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
1 (403) 220-8247 (Phone)

J. Ari Pandes

University of Calgary - Haskayne School of Business ( email )

2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
403 220-4350 (Phone)

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