The decline in the number of domestic U.S. corporate listings on public exchanges has been a concern for governance professionals because it implies a shrinkage in the number of public company boards and opportunities for board service.
The trend has been noted by others since 2011, including “Wall Street’s Dead End” by Felix Salmon in The New York Times (February 13, 2011), http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/14/opinion/14Salmon.html
“Missing: Public Companies – Why is the Number of Publicly Traded Companies in the US Declining?” by Alix Stuart in CFO Magazine (March 22, 2011),
“The Endangered Public Company: The Big Engine that Couldn’t” in The Economist (May 19, 2012),
and “The State of the Public Corporation: Not So Much an Eclipse as an Evolution” by Conrad S. Ciccotello in the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance (Fall 2014)
The most recent report is “The U.S. Listing Gap” by Craig Doidge, G. Andrew Karolyi, and René M. Stulz in their NBER Working Paper No. 21181 (Issued May 2015).
In all of the above instances, the data only goes as far as the S&P Factbook and the World Bank data reports up to 2012. At that time S&P discontinued reporting on U.S. domestic exchange listed firms.
The World Exchange Federation took over the reporting and included foreign exchange listed companies in the totals. Their data is as of January of each year and currently includes 2015 data. What is interesting is that the shrinkage of U.S. domestic listed firms appears to have bottomed out in 2013 and showed a slight upswing in 2014 and 2015. This slight uptick was also evident among foreign listed firms.
So, any analysis of the U.S. Listing Gap now needs to include an assessment of this most recent change in direction. We shall see what January 2016 has to offer very soon.