No Jets For You: Agency Problems in Public & Private Firms

From a new paper:

Agency Problems in Public Firms: Evidence from Corporate Jets in Leveraged Buyouts

Abstract: This paper uses rich, new data to examine the fleets of corporate jets operated by both publicly traded and privately held firms. In the cross-section, firms owned by private equity funds average jet fleets at least 40 percent smaller than observably similar publicly-traded firms. Similar fleet reductions are observed within firms that go private in leveraged buyouts. I discuss assumptions under which comparisons across and within firms provide estimates of lower and upper bounds on the average treatment effect of taking a firm from public to private in a leveraged buyout. Both censored and standard quantile regressions suggest that results at the mean are driven by firms in the upper 30 percent of the conditional jet distribution. Results thus suggest that executives in a substantial minority of public firms enjoy more generous perquisites than they would if subject to the pressures of private equity ownership.

 

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