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The Price of Diversifiable Risk in Venture Capital and Private Equity

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  • Michael Ewens
  • Charles M. Jones
  • Matthew Rhodes-Kropf

Abstract

This paper demonstrates how the principal-agent problem between venture capitalists and their investors (limited partners) causes limited partner returns to depend on diversifiable risk. Our theory shows why the need for investors to motivate VCs alters the negotiations between VCs and entrepreneurs and changes how new firms are priced. The three-way interaction rationalizes the use of high discount rates by VCs and predicts a correlation between total risk and net of fee investor returns. We take our theory to a unique data set and find empirical support for the effect of the principal-agent problem on equilibrium private equity asset prices. The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Ewens & Charles M. Jones & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2013. "The Price of Diversifiable Risk in Venture Capital and Private Equity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(8), pages 1854-1889.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:26:y:2013:i:8:p:1854-1889
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Ewens & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2015. "Is a VC Partnership Greater Than the Sum of Its Partners?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 70(3), pages 1081-1113, June.
    2. Lo, Andrew W. & Craig MacKinlay, A., 1990. "An econometric analysis of nonsynchronous trading," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1-2), pages 181-211.
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