Using a unique data set on domestic and international capital-raising activity and firm performance, we find that the expansion of financial market activity since the 1990s has been more limited than the aggregate figures suggest. Relatively few firms raise capital. Even fewer firms capture the bulk of the financing. Moreover, firms that issue equity or bonds are different and behave differently from other publicly listed firms. Among other things, they are typically larger and grow faster. The differences between users and nonusers exist before the capital-raising activity, are associated with the probability of raising capital, and become more accentuated afterward. Among publicly listed firms, the distribution of issuing firms shifts more over time than the distribution of those that do not issue, suggesting little convergence in firm size. To read more about our study, please see the VOXEU article here .