Defending Private Equity: AEI Economists Weigh-In

Defending Private Equity: AEI Economists Weigh-In

In light of recent attacks on Governor Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) director of economic policy studies Kevin Hassett and economist Steven Davis examine in their recently published piece what is private equity, its impact on jobs, and its role in the American economy.

Hassett and Davis find that private equity firms are a force for good because:

  • Private equity firms make investments in a wide range of businesses. The goal … is to create a thriving business so the private equity firm can sell its investment stake at a profit. This simple fact undercuts the claim that private equity firms systematically destroy jobs and loot companies. It’s hard to take a company public or sell it at a profit when it’s been looted.
  • They provide attractive returns for their investors.
  • The effect of private equity buyouts on employment in target firms is, on average, quite small.
  • Private equity buyouts accelerate the process of creative destruction: old jobs disappear more rapidly, new jobs get created more rapidly, and productivity growth increases as a result.


Kevin Hassett is a former senior economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and has served as a policy consultant to the Treasury Department and adviser to the presidential campaigns of John McCain (2000, 2008) and George W. Bush (2004). He can be reached at khassett@aei.org or through veronika.polakova@aei.org.

Steven Davis is a labor economist at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a visiting scholar at AEI. He can be reached at sdavis@aei.org.

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About the Author

 

Kevin A.
Hassett
  • Kevin A. Hassett is the State Farm James Q. Wilson Chair in American Politics and Culture at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He is also a resident scholar and AEI's director of economic policy studies.



    Before joining AEI, Hassett was a senior economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and an associate professor of economics and finance at Columbia (University) Business School. He served as a policy consultant to the US Department of the Treasury during the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.

    Hassett has also been an economic adviser to presidential candidates since 2000, when he became the chief economic adviser to Senator John McCain during that year's presidential primaries. He served as an economic adviser to the George W. Bush 2004 presidential campaign, a senior economic adviser to the McCain 2008 presidential campaign, and an economic adviser to the Mitt Romney 2012 presidential campaign.

    Hassett is the author or editor of many books, among them "Rethinking Competitiveness" (2012), "Toward Fundamental Tax Reform" (2005), "Bubbleology: The New Science of Stock Market Winners and Losers" (2002), and "Inequality and Tax Policy" (2001). He is also a columnist for National Review and has written for Bloomberg.

    Hassett frequently appears on Bloomberg radio and TV, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, NPR, and "PBS NewsHour," among others. He is also often quoted by, and his opinion pieces have been published in, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

    Hassett has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College.

  • Phone: 202-862-7157
    Email: khassett@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Emma Bennett
    Phone: 202-862-5862
    Email: emma.bennett@aei.org

 

Steven J.
Davis
  • Steven J. Davis studies unemployment, job displacement, business dynamics, the effect of taxes on work activity, and other topics in economics. He is deputy dean for the faculty and professor of international business and economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and an economic adviser to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office.  He previously taught at Brown University and MIT.  As a visiting scholar at AEI, Mr. Davis studies how policy-related sources of uncertainty affect national economic performance.

  • Phone: 773-702-7312
    Email: sdavis@aei.org

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