Private Equity and Employment
Steven J. Davis
University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
University of Maryland - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Ron S. Jarmin
U.S. Census Bureau
Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
U.S. Census Bureau - Center for Economic Studies
August 24, 2011
Chicago Booth Research Paper No. 11-31
Chicago Booth Initiative on Global Markets Working Paper No. 67
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 59
Date posted: August 29, 2011
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