When Do Firms Go Public? Stock and Bond IPOs in Belgium, 1839-1935
38 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2020
Date Written: July 22, 2020
This paper investigates the timing of a firm’s first security issue in public capital markets. We explain fluctuations over time in initial public offerings of bonds and stocks. We study Belgium in the period 1839-1935, a setting with poor investor protection, no tax distortions and changing governmental regulations. We find that economic growth leads to stock and bond IPOs and that both types of issues are timed to coincide with favorable market conditions. These effects are the strongest when the securities market has reached a mature level of development. We also find that bond IPOs coincide with more stock IPOs. Finally, our results suggest that a deregulation shock in 1873, which deregulated security markets and made it much easier to set up a firm and list securities, did not directly affect the number of IPOs, but facilitated a booming securities market in later years.
Keywords: Stock IPO, Bond IPO, Regulation, Investor Protection, Belgium
JEL Classification: G32, G38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation