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

Private Investments in Diversified Portfolios

January 29, 2021

We study the impact of including private investment funds into diversified portfolios that otherwise hold only public stocks and bonds. Our analysis uses a large sample of 3,380 U.S. buyout, venture capital, and real estate funds to simulate portfolios from 1987 to 2018 that substitute part of the public equity allocation with private funds. More

Debt and Leverage in Private Equity: A Survey of Existing Results and New Findings

January 04, 2021

This paper examines leverage and debt financing in the private equity buyout market. We provide an overview of how debt is utilized in buyout investment structures and a review of existing theoretical and empirical academic literature. The analysis also includes results from new data sources with information on deal structure and performance since the global financial crisis (GFC). We document that leverage ratios (Net Debt / EBITDA) have increased substantially in recent years and the increase is even more pronounced after unwinding EBITDA “adjustments” which have become increasingly large. More

Should defined contribution plans include private equity investments?

December 01, 2020

Investors want access to the best performing assets for their portfolios. Driven by the strong performance of private investment funds in recent decades, many providers of defined-contribution (DC) investment services have advocated for broader access to private investments in these plans, such as 401(k)s. More

Has Persistence Persisted in Private Equity? Evidence from Buyout and Venture Capital Funds

November 02, 2020

We present new evidence on the persistence of U.S. private equity (buyout and venture capital) funds using cash-flow data sourced from Burgiss’s large sample of institutional investors. Previous research, studying largely pre-2000 data, finds strong persistence for both buyout and venture capital (VC) firms. Using ex post or most recent fund performance (as of June 2019), we confirm the previous findings on persistence overall as well as for pre-2001 and post-2000 funds. More

The Impact of Private Equity Buyouts on Productivity and Jobs

August 01, 2020

The growing importance of private equity has generated ongoing debate as to its impact on the real economy, including the impact on productivity at private equity-owned firms (referred to herein as “target firms”), as well as the impact of private equity on job growth. More

Private Equity: Accomplishments and Challenges

July 08, 2020

Since the 1980s, there has been an ongoing discussion about the role of private equity (PE) in the economy. As investors have flocked to the asset class, voices critical of the negative social impact of PE have grown louder. In this article, we examine what is known from the academic literature about the effects of private equity on corporate productivity, the returns for investors, and possible broader economic and social consequences. More

Do Private Equity Managers Have Superior Information on Public Markets?

July 01, 2020

Using cash flows from a large sample of buyout and venture funds, the author shows that private equity (PE) distributions predict returns in the industries of funds' specialization. The tests distinguish timing skill from reactions to market conditions and spillover effects of PE activity. More

Does Private Equity Ownership Make Firms Cleaner? The Role Of Environmental Liability Risks

June 12, 2020

Private equity (PE) ownership leads to a 70% reduction in the baseline rate of toxic pollution. The reduction is identified from the oil and gas industry using a nearest-neighbor research design estimated on novel satellite imaging and administrative datasets. I test several mechanisms that could explain this behavior. More

The Evolution of Private Equity Fund Value

June 07, 2020

This paper provides the first large-sample analysis of buyout and venture capital fund values over their lifetimes. Specifically, we examine interim fund investment multiples (TVPIs), internal rates of return (IRRs), and direct-alphas based on the current reported net asset values (NAVs) at each quarter of a fund’s life. More

Private Real Estate Returns, Style Drift, and Procyclical Risk Taking

May 20, 2020

This paper documents that development exposure is an important determinant of private real estate returns and market risk exposure. It also documents that open-end private real estate funds have time-varying, procyclical market risk exposure through their development activities. More