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Private versus Public Ownership: Investment, Ownership Distribution, and Optimality


  • Salman Shah

    (University of Toronto)

  • Anjan V. Thakor

    (Washington University in St. Louis)


Examined in this paper is the choice between private and public incorporation of an asset for an entrepreneur (asset owner) who hires a manager and with superior information about the asset's return distribution. Public sale of equity is shown to be the preferred alternative when (a) capital market issue costs are low or (b) the asset's idiosyncratic risk is high and the owner is either sufficiently risk averse or sufficiently 'optimistic' about the asset's expected return. Thus, those assets deemed most valuable by their owners will tend to be publicly incorporated. The paper also explores the impact of incorporation mode--private versus public--and information structure on the firm's investment policy and ownership distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Salman Shah & Anjan V. Thakor, 2004. "Private versus Public Ownership: Investment, Ownership Distribution, and Optimality," Finance 0411026, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpfi:0411026
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cosimo Abbate & Alessandro Sapio, 2016. "Gazelles and muppets in the City: Stock market listing, risk sharing, and firm growth quantiles," LEM Papers Series 2016/33, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    2. Chen, Andrew H. & Mazumdar, Sumon C., 1997. "A dynamic model of firewalls and non-traditional banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 393-416, March.
    3. Andersson, H., 1995. "Landlords and farmers: implications of disparities in bargaining power for tenancy in agriculture," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 151-162, August.
    4. Martinez, Isabelle & Serve, Stéphanie, 2011. "The delisting decision: The case of buyout offer with squeeze-out (BOSO)," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 228-239.
    5. Andersson, Hans, 1995. "Landlords and farmers: implications of disparities in bargaining power for tenancy in agriculture," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 12(2), August.
    6. Patrick Artus & Philippe Ducos & Francois Lecointe, 1992. "Rachats d'entreprise avec endettement (LBO et MBO) : motivations micro-économiques, effets sur l'efficacité des entreprises et risques macro-économiques," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, pages 89-104.
    7. Helwege, Jean & Packer, Frank, 2009. "Private matters," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 362-383, July.
    8. Daniel Ferreira & Gustavo Manso & André C. Silva, 2014. "Incentives to Innovate and the Decision to Go Public or Private," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(1), pages 256-300, January.
    9. Arnoud W. A. Boot & Radhakrishnan Gopalan & Anjan V. Thakor, 2008. "Market Liquidity, Investor Participation, and Managerial Autonomy: Why Do Firms Go Private?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(4), pages 2013-2059, August.
    10. Fernandez-Olmos, Marta & Rosell-Martinez, Jorge & Espitia-Escuer, Manuel Antonio, 2008. "Double Sided Moral Hazard and Share Contracts in agriculture," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 43863, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    11. Johan Petersson & Hans Andersson, 1996. "The Benefits Of Share Contracts: Some European Results," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1-4), pages 158-171.
    12. Arnoud W.A. Boot & Radhakrishnan Gopalan & Anjan V. Thakor, 2003. "Go Public or Stay Private: A Theory of Entrepreneurial Choice," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-096/2, Tinbergen Institute.
    13. Chod, Jiri & Lyandres, Evgeny, 2011. "Strategic IPOs and product market competition," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 45-67, April.
    14. Chen, Andrew H. & Hung, Mao-Wei & Mazumdar, Sumon C., 1995. "Loan covenants and corporate debt policy under bank regulations," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(8), pages 1419-1436, November.
    15. Constant Djama & Isabelle Martinez & Stéphanie Serve, 2012. "What do we know about delistings? A survey of the literature," Post-Print hal-00937899, HAL.
    16. James Brau & J. Carpenter & Mauricio Rodriguez & C. Sirmans, 2013. "REIT Going Private Decisions," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 24-43, January.
    17. Sueyoshi, Toshiyuki & Goto, Mika, 2012. "Data envelopment analysis for environmental assessment: Comparison between public and private ownership in petroleum industry," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 216(3), pages 668-678.

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    JEL classification:

    • G - Financial Economics

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