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A Primer on Private Equity at Work: Management, Employment, and Sustainability

  • Eileen Appelbaum
  • Rosemary Batt

Private equity, hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds and other private pools of capital form part of the growing shadow banking system in the United States; these new financial intermediaries provide an alternative investment mechanism to the traditional banking system. Private equity and hedge funds have their origins in the U.S., while the first sovereign wealth fund was created by the Kuwaiti Government in 1953. While they have separate roots and distinct business models, these alternative investment vehicles increasingly have been merged into overarching asset management funds that encompass all three alternative investments. These funds have wielded increasing power in financial and non-financial sectors – not only via direct investments but also indirectly, as their strategies – such as high use of debt to fund investments – have been adopted by investment arms of banks and by publicly-traded corporations. This primer focuses on private equity (PE) because this is the new financial intermediary that most directly affects the management of, and employment relations in, operating companies that employ millions of U.S. workers. However, as the boundaries among alternative investment funds have begun to blur, we will touch on hedge funds and sovereign wealth funds as their activities relate to private equity.

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Paper provided by Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in its series CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs with number 2012-05.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:epo:papers:2012-05
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  1. Weisbach, Michael & Axelson, Ulf & Jenkinson, Tim & Stromberg, Per, 2008. "Leverage and Pricing in Buyouts: An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers 08-1, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
  2. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Josh Lerner & Javier Miranda, 2011. "Private Equity and Employment," NBER Working Papers 17399, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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