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ABSTRACT

This paper investigates the performance and capital inflows of private equity partnerships. Average fund returns (net of fees) approximately equal the S&P 500 although substantial heterogeneity across funds exists. Returns persist strongly across subsequent funds of a partnership. Better performing partnerships are more likely to raise follow-on funds and larger funds. This relationship is concave, so top performing partnerships grow proportionally less than average performers. At the industry level, market entry and fund performance are procyclical; however, established funds are less sensitive to cycles than new entrants. Several of these results differ markedly from those for mutual funds.