Our Research Strategy

At IPC, data, research and education improve understanding of the role of private capital in the global economy. An essential first step for generating quality research is access to reliable data.  Thus, our top priority is making research-quality data sources widely available to academic researchers.

Access to data on private investments presents challenges, including confidentiality concerns, the proprietary nature of many datasets, and the diffuse nature of private investments.  However, we believe that these challenges are best addressed by a deliberate systematic approach through a combined academic effort.  In many cases, data owners welcome the benefits derived from confidential analysis of their data by objective academic researchers.

IPC currently focuses on three research areas:

Private Equity Real Estate Active Management

Leverage in Private Equity Real Estate

March 21, 2022

This paper reviews the scant academic literature on the use of leverage in institutional private equity real estate (PERE) investments and summarize a number of stylized facts. The bulk of available evidence supports the view that leverage, as used by high-risk PERE funds, does not adequately compensate limited partners for the risk that it adds. More

Performance Analysis and Attribution with Alternative Investments

January 24, 2022
White Paper

This white paper provides a summary of existing methods and current research on performance analysis and attribution for complex portfolios that include investments such as hedge funds and private investment funds. We summarize the main challenges of analyzing portfolios with illiquid assets and provide updated analysis for several important asset classes. More

Asset Allocation with Private Equity

January 21, 2022

We survey the literature on the private equity partnership arrangement from the perspective of an outside investor (limited partner). We examine how the partnership arrangement fits into a broader portfolio of investments, and we consider the methods and difficulties in performance measurement, both at the fund level and at the asset class level. We follow with a discussion of performance persistence and the skill and pricing power of both general and limited partners. More

The Future of Private Equity – PERC Roundtable

November 22, 2021

At IPC's May 2021 Private Equity Research Symposium, a roundtable discussion convened to discuss the Future of Private Equity. The academic discussion featured Tim Jenkinson (Oxford University’s Saïd Business School), Bob Harris (UVA's Darden School of Business), Victoria Ivashina (Harvard Business School), and Per Stromberg (Stockholm School of Economics). Our industry panel featured Petra Bukovec (Panetheon), Alex Rogers (HarbourVest), and Frank McKinniry (Vanguard). More

Capital Structure and Leverage in Private Equity Buyouts

November 22, 2021

A new study designed to shed light on the various kinds of debt now used to finance buyout transactions, and to provide some current insights on the profitability and leverage of such transactions using newly available data. Authors: Greg Brown (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Robert Harris (University of Virginia), and Shawn Munday (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). More

Does Private Equity Over-Lever Portfolio Companies?

November 13, 2021

This paper develops a dynamic trade-off model where a firm’s capital structure and default decisions are made by the PE fund manager. PE-ownership can endogenously change tax benefits of debt and expected cost of financial distress though differences in (i) asset volatility (ii) expected future return and (iii) deadweight bankruptcy costs. I find the estimated model is able to explain both the level and change in leverage ratios documented empirically following LBOs, driven primarily by changes in the portfolio company hypothesized above. More

Investment with Social Impact: Evidence from Commercial Real Estate Investment by Public Pension Funds

October 03, 2021

This paper studies whether and how investments by public pension funds result in a different social impact, measured by employment growth, relative to investments by other large investors. Using commercial real estate (CRE) investments as a laboratory, I compare direct pension fund CRE investments to a counterfactual of real estate private equity (REPE) CRE investments. More

How Do Financial Expertise and Networks Affect Investing? Evidence from University Endowments

April 25, 2021
Working Paper

We examine the links between human capital and endowment investing. Harnessing detailed information on university endowments, we find that higher asset allocations to alternative assets accompany higher levels of human capital in the endowment’s investment process. Moreover, high levels of human capital are linked to larger returns, even on a risk-adjusted basis. More

The Work-at-Home Technology Boon and its Consequences

April 02, 2021

We study the impact of widespread adoption of work-from-home (WFH) technology using an equilibrium model where people choose where to live, how to allocate their time between working at home and at the office, and how much space to use in production. More

Hedge Funds and the Treasury Cash-Futures Disconnect

April 01, 2021
Working Paper

We document the rise and fall of an arbitrage trade among hedge funds known as the Treasury cash-futures basis trade. This trade exploited a fundamental disconnect between cash and futures prices of Treasuries. We show that in recent years a replicating portfolio of Treasury bills and futures has been overvalued relative to Treasury notes and bonds, creating an opportunity for arbitrageurs. More