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Employee stock purchase plans – gift or incentive? evidence from a multinational corporation

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  • Bryson, Alex
  • Freeman, Richard B.

Abstract

Many large listed firms offer workers the opportunity to buy shares in the firm at discounted rates through employee stock purchase plans (ESPP). The discounted rate creates a gift exchange, where the firm hopes that workers who accept the gift reciprocate with greater loyalty and effort. But ESPPs diverge from standard gift exchange or efficiency wage models. Employees have to invest some of their own money by purchasing shares at the discounted rate to accept the gift. A sizeable number choose to reject the gift. In addition, the value of the ESPP gift varies with the share price and thus with the performance of the firm and the effort of workers in total. For workers who buy subsidized shares, an ESPP sets up a group incentive pay system analogous to profit sharing, all-employee stock options, or an employment ownership scheme that makes part of workers' compensation depend on company performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Bryson, Alex & Freeman, Richard B., 2014. "Employee stock purchase plans – gift or incentive? evidence from a multinational corporation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60524, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:60524
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/60524/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard B. Freeman & Douglas L. Kruse & Joseph R. Blasi, 2010. "Worker Responses to Shirking under Shared Capitalism," NBER Chapters, in: Shared Capitalism at Work: Employee Ownership, Profit and Gain Sharing, and Broad-based Stock Options, pages 77-103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Joseph R. Blasi & Richard B. Freeman & Christopher Mackin & Douglas L. Kruse, 2010. "Creating a Bigger Pie? The Effects of Employee Ownership, Profit Sharing, and Stock Options on Workplace Performance," NBER Chapters, in: Shared Capitalism at Work: Employee Ownership, Profit and Gain Sharing, and Broad-based Stock Options, pages 139-165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchler, Erich & Weichbold, Andreas & Gächter, Simon, 1998. "When Social Norms Overpower Competition: Gift Exchange in Experimental Labor Markets," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(2), pages 324-351, April.
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    8. Douglas L. Kruse & Richard B. Freeman & Joseph R. Blasi, 2010. "Shared Capitalism at Work: Employee Ownership, Profit and Gain Sharing, and Broad-based Stock Options," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number krus08-1, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bryson, Alex & Clark, Andrew E. & Freeman, Richard B. & Green, Colin P., 2016. "Share capitalism and worker wellbeing," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 151-158.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Share ownership; job search; quits; sickness absence; effort; gift exchange; incentives; 202647; Researcher development fund; BR100020;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J54 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Producer Cooperatives; Labor Managed Firms
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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