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Employee Stock Purchase Plans

  • Gary V. Engelhardt
  • Brigitte C. Madrian

Employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs) are designed to promote employee stock ownership broadly within the firm and provide another tax-deferred vehicle for individual capital accumulation in addition to traditional pensions, 401(k)s, and stock options. We outline the individual and corporate tax treatment of ESPPs and the circumstances under which ESPPs will be preferred to cash compensation from a purely tax perspective. We then examine empirically ESPP participation using administrative data from 1997-2001 for a large health services company that employs approximately 30,000 people. The picture that emerges from the analysis of these data suggests that there is substantial non-participation in these plans even though all employees could increase gross compensation through participation. We discuss a number of potential explanations for non-participation.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10421.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10421.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
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Publication status: published as Engelhardt, Gary V. and Brigitte C. Madrian. "Employee Stock Purchase Plans," National Tax Journal, 2004, v57(2,Jun), 385-406.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10421
Note: AG CF LS PE
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  9. Engelhardt, Gary V., 1994. "Tax Subsidies to Saving for Home Purchase: Evidence from Canadian RHOSPs," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(2), pages 363-88, June.
  10. Diamond, Peter & Koszegi, Botond, 2003. "Quasi-hyperbolic discounting and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1839-1872, September.
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  17. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1988. "The Determinants of IRA Contributions and the Effect of Limit Changes," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 9-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Kevin Milligan, 2001. "Tax-Preferred Savings Accounts and Marginal Tax Rates: Evidence on RRSP Participation," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 52, McMaster University.
  19. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1999. "Incentives for Procrastinators," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 769-816.
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  23. J. Nellie Liang & Scott Weisbenner, 2002. "Investor behavior and the purchase of company stock in 401(k) plans - the importance of plan design," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-36, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  24. Gary V. Engelhardt, 1996. "Tax Subsidies and Household Saving: Evidence from Canada," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1237-1268.
  25. Tullio Jappelli, 1990. "Who is Credit Constrained in the U. S. Economy?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 219-234.
  26. Helen F. Ladd, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Mortgage Lending," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 41-62, Spring.
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