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Down and Out in the Stock Market: The Law and Economics of the Delisting Process


  • Jonathan Macey
  • Maureen O'Hara
  • David Pompilio


Since 1995, more than 9,000 firms have delisted from U.S. stock markets, with almost half of these being involuntary. This paper examines the law and economics of the delisting process. We examine economic rationales for delisting, the legal rules that define it, and the causes of delisting. Using a sample of New York Stock Exchange firms delisted in 2002, we examine the effects of their delisting and subsequent trading on the Pink Sheets. We find huge costs to delisting, with percentage spreads tripling and volatility doubling but with volume being remarkably high. We also show that actual delisting times vary considerably, with some firms trading for months after failing the listing requirements. With exchanges transitioning to profit-seeking status, we argue that the current delisting process also needs to change, and we suggest properties of an optimal delisting rule and approaches to achieve it. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Macey & Maureen O'Hara & David Pompilio, 2008. "Down and Out in the Stock Market: The Law and Economics of the Delisting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(4), pages 683-713, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:51:y:2008:i:4:p:683-713

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Brian J. Bushee & Christian Leuz, 2003. "Economic Consequences of SEC Disclosure Regulation," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-24, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
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    Cited by:

    1. Doidge, Craig & Karolyi, G. Andrew & Stulz, René M., 2017. "The U.S. listing gap," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(3), pages 464-487.
    2. Park, Jong-Ho & Binh, Ki Beom & Eom, Kyong Shik, 2016. "The effect of listing switches from a growth market to a main board: An alternative perspective," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 246-273.
    3. repec:eee:jfinec:v:125:y:2017:i:2:p:389-415 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Craig Doidge & G. Andrew Karolyi & René M. Stulz, 2015. "The U.S. listing gap," NBER Working Papers 21181, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • Doidge, Craig & Karolyi, George Andrew & Stulz, Rene M., 2015. "The U.S. Listing Gap," Working Paper Series 2015-07, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    5. Dewenter, Kathryn L. & Kim, Chang-Soo & Novaes, Walter, 2010. "Anatomy of a regulatory race to the top: Changes in delisting rules at Korea's two stock exchanges, 1999-2002," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 456-468, September.
    6. Bakke, Tor-Erik & Jens, Candace E. & Whited, Toni M., 2012. "The real effects of delisting: Evidence from a regression discontinuity design," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 183-193.
    7. Cattaneo, Mattia & Meoli, Michele & Vismara, Silvio, 2015. "Financial regulation and IPOs: Evidence from the history of the Italian stock market," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 116-131.
    8. Rhee, S. Ghon & Wu, Feng, 2012. "Anything wrong with breaking a buck? An empirical evaluation of NASDAQ's $1 minimum bid price maintenance criterion," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 258-285.
    9. Chaplinsky, Susan & Ramchand, Latha, 2012. "What drives delistings of foreign firms from U.S. Exchanges?," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 1126-1148.
    10. Isabel Feito-Ruiz & Clara Cardone-Riportella & Susana Menéndez-Requejo, 2014. "SMEs’ Delisting Decisions on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM): Family Holders and Financial Crisis," Working Papers 14.02, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Financial Economics and Accounting (former Department of Business Administration).
    11. Steen Thomsen & Frederik Vinten, 2014. "Delistings and the costs of governance: a study of European stock exchanges 1996–2004," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 18(3), pages 793-833, August.
    12. Andrew Ang & Assaf A. Shtauber & Paul C. Tetlock, 2013. "Asset Pricing in the Dark: The Cross-Section of OTC Stocks," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(12), pages 2985-3028.
    13. Park, Jinwoo & Lee, Posang & Park, Yun W., 2014. "Information effect of involuntary delisting and informed trading," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 251-269.
    14. Constant Djama & Isabelle Martinez & Stéphanie Serve, 2012. "What do we know about delistings? A survey of the literature," Post-Print hal-00937899, HAL.
    15. Liu, Shinhua & Stowe, John D. & Hung, Ken, 2012. "Why U.S. firms delist from the Tokyo stock exchange: An empirical analysis," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 62-70.
    16. Kashefi Pour, Eilnaz & Lasfer, Meziane, 2013. "Why do companies delist voluntarily from the stock market?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 4850-4860.
    17. Amihud, Yakov & Stoyanov, Stoyan, 2017. "Do staggered boards harm shareholders?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 432-439.
    18. Re-Jin Guo & Nan Zhou, 2016. "Innovation capability and post-IPO performance," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 335-357, February.

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