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Employee Capitalism or Corporate Socialism? Broad-Based Employee Stock Ownership

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Listed:
  • E. Han Kim
  • Paige Ouimet

Abstract

How employee share ownership plans (ESOPs) affect employee compensation and shareholder value depends on the size. Small ESOPs, defined as those controlling less than 5% of outstanding shares, benefit both workers and shareholders, implying positive productivity gains. However, the effects of large ESOPs on worker compensation and shareholder value are more or less neutral, suggesting little productivity gains. These differential effects appear to be due to two non-value-creating motives specific to large ESOPS: (1) To form management-worker alliances ala Pagano and Volpin (2005), wherein management bribes workers to garner worker support in thwarting hostile takeover threats and (2) To substitute wages with ESOP shares by cash constrained firms. Worker compensation increases when firms under takeover threats adopt large ESOPs, but only if the firm operates in a non-competitive industry. The effects on firm valuation also depend on the strength of product market competition: When the competition is strong (weak), most of the productivity gains accrue to employees (shareholders). Competitive industry also implies greater job mobility within the industry, enabling workers to take a greater portion of productivity gains.

Suggested Citation

  • E. Han Kim & Paige Ouimet, 2009. "Employee Capitalism or Corporate Socialism? Broad-Based Employee Stock Ownership," Working Papers 09-44, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:09-44
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/2009/CES-WP-09-44.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2009
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ginglinger, Edith & Megginson, William & Waxin, Timothée, 2011. "Employee ownership, board representation, and corporate financial policies," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 868-887, September.
    2. Koustubh Kanti Ray, 2016. "Employee stock option plan and firm performance: A quantile regression approach," Asian Journal of Empirical Research, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 6(6), pages 152-166, June.
    3. Meng, Rujing & Ning, Xiangdong & Zhou, Xianming & Zhu, Hongquan, 2011. "Do ESOPs enhance firm performance? Evidence from China's reform experiment," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 1541-1551, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ESOPs; Employee Incentives; Worker Wages and Compensation; Product Market Competition;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • J54 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Producer Cooperatives; Labor Managed Firms
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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