Venture capital and the structure of capital markets: Banks versus stock markets

Bernard S. Black*, Ronald J. Gilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

818 Scopus citations


The United States has many banks that are small relative to large corporations and play a limited role in corporate governance, and a well developed stock market with an associated market for corporate control. In contrast, Japanese and German banks are fewer in number but larger in relative size and are said to play a central governance role. Neither country has an active market for corporate control. We extend the debate on the relative efficiency of bank- and stock market-centered capital markets by developing a further systematic difference between the two systems: the greater vitality of venture capital in stock market-centered systems. Understanding the link between the stock market and the venture capital market requires understanding the contractual arrangements between entrepreneurs and venture capital providers; especially, the importance of the opportunity to enter into an implicit contract over control, which gives a successful entrepreneur the option to reacquire control from the venture capitalist by using an initial public offering as the means by which the venture capitalist exits from a portfolio investment. We also extend the literature on venture capital contracting by offering an explanation for two central characteristics of the U.S. venture capital market: relatively rapid exit by venture capital providers from investments in portfolio companies; and the common practice of exit through an initial public offering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-277
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Financial Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 15 1998


  • Comparative corporate governance
  • Exit Strategy
  • G23
  • G32
  • IPO
  • Venture Capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Venture capital and the structure of capital markets: Banks versus stock markets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this