We examine the response of different types of Limited Partners (LPs) to alleged opportunistic behavior on the part of Venture Capitalists (VCs). We use a sample of litigated VCs (identified by Atanasov, et al, 2012, Journal of Finance) to proxy for VC opportunistic behavior. Based on their presumed sensitivity to VC malfeasance and headline risk, we predict that university endowments and economic development authorities will be most likely to respond negatively to potential bad press. To test our hypothesis, we employ differences-in-differences (DiD) analysis and compare the participation of different types of LPs in VC funds before and after litigation relative to the LPs of otherwise similar, matched VCs that are not subject to litigation. We find that endowments reduce by more than 50% their participation in follow-on investment funds offered by litigated VCs relative to other types of LPs. Our results suggest that the threat of university endowment withdrawal of funding can deter VC opportunism.
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