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Private Equity Performance: Returns, Persistence and Capital

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  • Steven Kaplan
  • Antoinette Schoar

Abstract

This paper investigates the performance of private equity partnerships using a data set of individual fund returns collected by Venture Economics. Over the sample period, average fund returns net of fees approximately equal the S\&P 500 although there is a large degree of heterogeneity. Returns persist strongly across funds raised by individual private equity partnerships. Better performing funds are more likely to raise follow-on funds and raise larger funds than funds that perform poorly. This relationship is concave so that top performing funds do not grow proportionally as much as the average fund. Finally, market entry in private equity is cyclical. Funds (and partnerships) started in boom times are less likely to raise follow-on funds, suggesting that these funds subsequently perform worse. Several of these results differ markedly from those for mutual funds.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Kaplan & Antoinette Schoar, 2003. "Private Equity Performance: Returns, Persistence and Capital," NBER Working Papers 9807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9807
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9807.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Khorana, Ajay & Servaes, Henri, 1999. "The Determinants of Mutual Fund Starts," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(5), pages 1043-1074.
    2. Steven N. Kaplan & Per Strömberg, 2003. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets the Real World: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Capital Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 281-315.
    3. Erik R. Sirri & Peter Tufano, 1998. "Costly Search and Mutual Fund Flows," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1589-1622, October.
    4. Jonathan B. Berk & Richard C. Green, 2004. "Mutual Fund Flows and Performance in Rational Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1269-1295, December.
    5. Cochrane, John H., 2005. "The risk and return of venture capital," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 3-52, January.
    6. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jørgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 745-778, September.
    7. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," NBER Working Papers 8876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage

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