Grants

Private Capital Research Institute

To set up an Administrative Data Research Facility that makes data about the private capital industry accessible to researchers

  • Amount $500,000
  • City Boston, MA
  • Investigator Josh Lerner
  • Year 2017
  • Program Economics
  • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance

Representing roughly $4 trillion globally, private capital plays an outsize role in productivity trends since its investments traditionally promote innovation and reorganization. Since private equity is private, however, there is very little available data on how venture capital or private equity firms invest in companies. What few studies we do have comes from proprietary data that cannot be shared and thus cannot be subjected to normal scientific attempts to replicate or check findings and results. Josh Lerner, a distinguished scholar at the Harvard Business School, is so keen on making data about this sector more available to academic researchers that he established a nonprofit, the Private Capital Research Institute (PCRI), explicitly for that purpose. This grant funds a project by Lerner and his team at PCRI to compile a large dataset of Certificates of Incorporation (COIs). COIs filings record significant details about the provision of private capital, including information on the capital structure and key terms of venture capital deals along with important information about valuation. Though supposedly public, COIs are in practice quite difficult to obtain or study other than one at a time. Lerner and the PCRI staff will use grant funds acquire approximately 6,000 COIs and begin compile a database that tracks 20-30 variables contained in COIs. The database will then be made available to academic researchers for research.

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