Private Equity and Employment

Source: Steven J. Davis, John Haltiwanger, Ron S. Jarmin, Josh Lerner, Javier Miranda, US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies, Paper No. CES-WP-08-07, March 1, 2008

The impact of private equity on employment arouses considerable controversy. Labor groups concerned about the fortunes of workers employed at buyout firms contend private equity firms destroy jobs. By contrast private equity associations and other groups have released a number of recent studies that claim positive effects of private equity on employment following the takeover. In this paper we conduct a comprehensive examination of the impact of private equity buyouts on the employment outcomes of firms that are taken over by these investment firms. We focus the analysis on two different dimensions. First, what are the employment outcomes of workers employed at establishments existing at the time of the buyout? Second, what is growth performance of the firm following the buyout? We conduct the analysis using a unique linked dataset covering the universe of US firms and information regarding US buyout operations between 1980 and 2005. We find targeted establishments exhibit net employment contraction, higher job destruction and establishment exit relative to controls. However, targeted firms exhibit higher greenfield entry and more acquisition and divestiture.

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