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The Demise of Investment Banking Partnerships: Theory and Evidence

  • Morrison, Alan
  • Wilhelm Jr, William J
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    Until 1970, the New York Stock Exchange prohibited public incorporation of member firms. After the rules were relaxed to allow joint stock firm membership, investment-banking concerns organized as partnerships or closely-held private corporations went public in waves, with Goldman Sachs (1999) the last of the bulge bracket banks to float. In this paper we ask why the Investment Banks chose to float after 1970, and why they did so in waves. In our model, partnerships have a role in fostering the formation of human capital (Morrison and Wilhelm, 2003). We examine in this context the effect of technological innovations which serve to replace or to undermine the role of the human capitalist and hence we provide a technological theory of the partnership’s going-public decision. We support our theory with a new dataset of investment bank partnership statistics.

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    Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4904.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4904
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    1. Boot, Arnoud W A & Greenbaum, Stuart I & Thakor, Anjan V, 1993. "Reputation and Discretion in Financial Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1165-83, December.
    2. Jonathan Levin, 2002. "A Theory of Partnerships," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000002, UCLA Department of Economics.
    3. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1998. "Sequential Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 237, David K. Levine.
    4. Joseph Farrell and Suzanne Scotchmer., 1986. "Partnerships," Economics Working Papers 8616, University of California at Berkeley.
    5. William D. Nordhaus, 2001. "The Progress of Computing," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1324, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    6. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-54, May-June.
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