Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2000

Publication Citation

88 Indiana Law Journal 151 (2013)


Provisions in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 have made it much easier for firms to avoid federal periodic disclosure obligations, but these provisions were enacted based upon a virtually nonexistent legislative record and upended rules established only after careful consideration almost fifty years earlier. Determining when firms should be required to comply with federal periodic disclosure requirements is best done in the context of a broader understanding of the history and economics of periodic disclosure regulation. This Article provides such an understanding.

The history of periodic disclosure regulation in the United States is traced back to its origins in the eighteenth century, and the economic analysis of periodic disclosure regulation is updated and refined to incorporate recent findings. Building on this historical and economic understanding of periodic disclosure regulation, I identify a flaw in the underlying structure of the rules currently used to determine when firms must make periodic disclosures. To rectify this structural problem, I conclude that firms with a market capitalization of less than $35 million or fewer than one hundred beneficial shareholders should be granted an automatic exemption from periodic disclosure requirements. All other firms should be provided a choice between: (1) complying with federal periodic disclosure obligations, or (2) implementing measures that would mitigate the need for periodic disclosure regulation, such as severely restricting the tradability of the firm’s shares or committing to an acceptable alternative disclosure regime.