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Private Equity and Employment

  • Steven J. Davis
  • John C. Haltiwanger
  • Ron S. Jarmin
  • Josh Lerner
  • Javier Miranda

Private equity critics claim that leveraged buyouts bring huge job losses. To investigate this claim, we construct and analyze a new dataset that covers U.S. private equity transactions from 1980 to 2005. We track 3,200 target firms and their 150,000 establishments before and after acquisition, comparing outcomes to controls similar in terms of industry, size, age, and prior growth. Relative to controls, employment at target establishments declines 3 percent over two years post buyout and 6 percent over five years. The job losses are concentrated among public-to-private buyouts, and transactions involving firms in the service and retail sectors. But target firms also create more new jobs at new establishments, and they acquire and divest establishments more rapidly. When we consider these additional adjustment margins, net relative job losses at target firms are less than 1 percent of initial employment. In contrast, the sum of gross job creation and destruction at target firms exceeds that of controls by 13 percent of employment over two years. In short, private equity buyouts catalyze the creative destruction process in the labor market, with only a modest net impact on employment. The creative destruction response mainly involves a more rapid reallocation of jobs across establishments within target firms.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17399.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17399
Note: CF EFG LS PR
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  1. Lichtenberg, Frank R. & Siegel, Donald, 1990. "The effects of leveraged buyouts on productivity and related aspects of firm behavior," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 165-194, September.
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  17. Richard Harris & Donald S. Siegel & Mike Wright, 2003. "Assessing the Impact of Management Buyouts on Economic Efficiency: Plant-Level Evidence from the United Kingdom," Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics 0304, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics.
  18. Kevin Amess & Mike Wright, 2007. "The Wage and Employment Effects of Leveraged Buyouts in the UK," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 179-195.
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