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Private Equity, Layoffs, and Job Polarization

Author

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  • Olsson, Martin

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Tåg, Joacim

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

Abstract

Private equity firms are often criticized for laying off workers, but the evidence on who loses their jobs and why is scarce. This paper argues that explanations for job polarization also explain layoffs after private equity buyouts. Buyouts reduce agency problems, which triggers automation and offshoring. Using rich employer-employee data, we show that buyouts generally do not affect unemployment incidence. However, unemployment incidence doubles for workers in less productive firms who perform routine or offshorable job tasks. Job polarization is also much more marked among workers affected by buyouts than for the economy at large.

Suggested Citation

  • Olsson, Martin & Tåg, Joacim, 2012. "Private Equity, Layoffs, and Job Polarization," Working Paper Series 906, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 01 May 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0906
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    Cited by:

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    2. Baziki, Selva Bahar & Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars & Tåg, Joacim, 2017. "Cross-border acquisitions and restructuring: Multinational enterprises and private equity-firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 166-184.
    3. Henrekson Magnus, 2017. "Taxation of Swedish Firm Owners: The Great Reversal from the 1970s to the 2010s," Nordic Tax Journal, Sciendo, vol. 2017(1), pages 26-46, January.
    4. Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars & Tåg, Joacim, 2018. "Threatening to buy: Private equity buyouts and antitrust policy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 31-34.
    5. Olsson, Martin & Tåg, Joacim, 2018. "Are foreign private equity buyouts bad for workers?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 1-4.
    6. Ljungqvist, Alexander & Persson, Lars & Tåg, Joacim, 2016. "The Incredible Shrinking Stock Market: On the Political Economy Consequences of Excessive Delistings," Working Paper Series 1115, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 06 Feb 2018.
    7. Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars & Tåg, Joacim, 2010. "Buying to Sell: A Theory of Buyouts," Working Paper Series 817, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    8. Alexander Ljungqvist & Lars Persson & Joacim Tåg, 2016. "Private Equity's Unintended Dark Side: On the Economic Consequences of Excessive Delistings," NBER Working Papers 21909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Heyman, Fredrik, 2016. "Job polarization, job tasks and the role of firms," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 246-251.
    10. KUBO Katsuyuki & TSUBONO Kodai, 2022. "The Effect of Investment Funds on Employment and Wages," Discussion papers 22044, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    11. Neely, Megan Tobias & Carmichael, Donna, 2021. "Profiting on crisis: how predatory financial investors have worsened inequality in the coronavirus crisis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 112697, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    12. Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars & Tåg, Joacim Ingemar, 2012. "Buying to Sell: Private Equity Buyouts and Industrial Restructuring," CEPR Discussion Papers 8992, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Antonio Martins-Neto & Nanditha Mathew & Pierre Mohnen & Tania Treibich, 2021. "Is There Job Polarization in Developing Economies? A Review and Outlook," CESifo Working Paper Series 9444, CESifo.
    14. Antoni, Manfred & Maug, Ernst & Obernberger, Stefan, 2019. "Private equity and human capital risk," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(3), pages 634-657.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Automation; Employment; Globalization; Job polarization; Private equity buyouts; Leveraged buyouts; Offshoring; Restructuring; Task-Biased technological Change; Unemployment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions

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