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Justin Fox

Corporations Need a New Reason to Be

Putting shareholders first might finally be falling out of fashion. Thanks, Donald Trump!
That's great. Is it good?

That's great. Is it good?

Photographer: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Publicly traded corporations are at something of an impasse in the U.S. Their numbers are shrinking: from 7,507 in 1997 to not much more than 3,500 now. Their ranks are getting top-heavy, with most profits and cash flow accruing to a shrinking group of giants:

That chart data is from a new(ish) paper, "Is the American Public Corporation in Trouble?" by finance professors Kathleen Kahle of the University of Arizona and Rene M. Stulz of Ohio State University. Their conclusion: Yeah, it is.