Where Have All The Equities Gone?

FTAlphaville: The mysterious decline in the number of US public companies
Had the relation between new lists and startups stayed the same after 1996, the U.S. would have had 9,000 more new lists in the post-peak period than it actually had. Thus, the decrease in listings in the post-peak period appears to be due to a lower propensity of firms to be listed rather than a decrease in the number of firms available to be listed.
Regulations aren't the answer:
It is often argued that the regulatory and legal changes in the early 2000s, including Regulation Fair Disclosure (“Reg FD”) and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”), made it more expensive for small firms to be listed relative to large firms so that these changes led to a drop in the number of listed firms, especially for small firms. The fact that the decrease in listed firms was well on its way before these changes took place implies that they alone cannot explain the listing gap.
The best explanation is that is it a bear market phenomena. It may also be a sign of significant economic and political change. Not a few people have charged that American democracy is slowly morphing into an aristocracy.

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