Innovation and upheaval: early growth in Greek capital market listings and IPOs from 1880 to the Second World War in the Athens Stock Exchange

Stavros Thomadakis, Dimitrios Gounopoulos, Christos Nounis, Michalis Riginos
Published Online:
10 Mar 2017
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 70 Issue 3

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The establishment and growth of the Greek stock market were coincident with development episodes, financial upheavals, and geographic expansions of the country's economy over the period 1880–1940. This article explores the growth of the Athens Stock Exchange through new listings and initial public offerings (IPOs) in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We examine changes in exchange governance and listing requirements. On a theme not addressed before, we find that simple listings were far more numerous than actual IPOs. IPOs in Greece remained unregulated throughout the period. Their under‐pricing became pronounced in the later parts of the period, especially the 1920s. The study presents data on ‘quasi‐IPOs’ (that is, capital increases shortly after listing) and shows that they offer a more accurate assessment of the demand for the financing of listing firms in an emerging market. Robust evidence is presented to show that as the Exchange developed it also underwent a change in character, becoming more oriented to the domestic market and catering to smaller firms in domestic manufacturing in the post‐First World War era that marked the end of early globalization.

© Economic History Society 2017

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