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Private Equity, Jobs, and Productivity

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

Private equity critics claim that leveraged buyouts bring huge job losses and few gains in operating performance. To evaluate these claims, we construct and analyze a new dataset that covers U.S. buyouts from 1980 to 2005. We track 3,200 target firms and their 150,000 establishments before and after acquisition, comparing them to controls defined by industry, size, age, and prior growth. Relative to controls, employment at target establishments falls 3 percent over two years post buyout and 6 percent over five years. However, target firms also create more new jobs at new establishments, and they acquire and divest establishments more rapidly. Considering all adjustment margins, relative net job loss at target firms is a modest one percent of employment over two years post buyout. In contrast, the sum of gross job creation and destruction at target firms exceeds that of controls by 14 percent of employment over two years. Buyouts also bring TFP gains at target firms and reductions in earnings per worker. Productivity gains arise mainly from an accelerated exit of less productive establishments and greater entry of more productive ones - that is, from a directed reallocation of jobs within target firms.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19458.

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Date of creation: Sep 2013
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Publication status: published as Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Kyle Handley & Ron Jarmin & Josh Lerner & Javier Miranda, 2014. "Private Equity, Jobs, and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(12), pages 3956-90, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19458
Note: EFG LS PR
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  1. Javier Miranda & Alfred Nucci & Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & C.J. Krizan & Kristin Sandusky, 2006. "Measuring the Dynamics of Young and Small Businesses: Integrating the Employer and Nonemployer Universes," Working Papers 06-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Robert H McGuckin & Sang V Nguyen, 2000. "The Impact of Ownership Changes: A View from Labor Markets," Working Papers 00-02, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. 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.
  4. Frank R Lichtenberg & Donald Siegel, 1989. "The Effects Of Leveraged Buyouts On Productivity And Related Aspects Of Firm Behavior," Working Papers 89-5, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  5. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 1998. "Is There Discretion in Wage Setting? A Test Using Takeover Legislation," NBER Working Papers 6807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Stephen Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2006. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded Versus Privately Held Firms," Working Papers 06-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. John Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2010. "Who Creates Jobs? Small vs. Large vs. Young," Working Papers 10-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  9. Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson L., 1988. "Plant Turnover And Gross Employment Flows In The U.S. Manufacturing Sector," Papers 9-87-7, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  10. Baker, George P. & Wruck, Karen H., 1989. "Organizational changes and value creation in leveraged buyouts : The case of the O.M. Scott & Sons Company," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 163-190, December.
  11. Kaplan, Steven N. & Strömberg, Per, 2009. "Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity," SIFR Research Report Series 65, Institute for Financial Research.
  12. Kaplan, Steven, 1989. "The effects of management buyouts on operating performance and value," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 217-254.
  13. Lucia Foster & Cheryl Grim & John Haltiwanger, 2014. "Reallocation in the Great Recession: Cleansing or Not?," NBER Working Papers 20427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Richard E. Caves, 1998. "Industrial Organization and New Findings on the Turnover and Mobility of Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1947-1982, December.
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  16. Davis, Steven J & Haltiwanger, John C, 1992. "Gross Job Creation, Gross Job Destruction, and Employment Reallocation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 819-63, August.
  17. Steven Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Josh Lerner & Javier Miranda, 2008. "Private Equity and Employment," Working Papers 08-07r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Oct 2011.
  18. Ricardo J. Caballero, 2007. "Specificity and the Macroeconomics of Restructuring," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262033623, June.
  19. Muscarella, Chris J & Vetsuypens, Michael R, 1990. " Efficiency and Organizational Structure: A Study of Reverse LBOs," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(5), pages 1389-1413, December.
  20. Baker, George P, 1992. " Beatrice: A Study in the Creation and Destruction of Value," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(3), pages 1081-119, July.
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