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Shared Capitalism in the U.S. Economy? Prevalence, Characteristics, and Employee Views of Financial Participation in Enterprises

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  • Douglas L. Kruse
  • Joseph R. Blasi
  • Rhokeun Park

Abstract

Between one-third and one-half of employees participate directly in company performance through profit sharing, gainsharing, employee ownership, or stock options. This flies in the face of concerns about the free rider problem and worker risk aversion in group incentives, and raises many questions about the effects on firms and workers. This paper lays out the major reasons we may see such "shared capitalism" plans, and reviews recent nationally representative surveys on the prevalence of these plans. We also introduce the NBER shared capitalism data, based on questions added to the 2002 and 2006 General Social Surveys (GSS) and more than 40,000 employee surveys from 14 companies with different combinations of shared capitalism plans. We find that while shared capitalism exists broadly throughout the economy, it is more likely in larger establishments. The free rider effect may be countered by the use of other policies to create productive teamwork and a cooperative culture: shared capitalism is positively linked to workplace decision-making, training, job security, teamwork, the ability to easily observe co-worker performance, and low levels of supervision. Also, more risk-averse employees avoid participating in several types of shared capitalism, but two-thirds of even the most risk-averse employees in these companies say they want shared capitalism as part of their pay package. The effects of these plans for both workers and firms are more fully explored in accompanying papers.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas L. Kruse & Joseph R. Blasi & Rhokeun Park, 2008. "Shared Capitalism in the U.S. Economy? Prevalence, Characteristics, and Employee Views of Financial Participation in Enterprises," NBER Working Papers 14225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14225
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Leonid Krasnozhon, 2011. "Property rights and farm efficiency: evidence from Ukraine," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 44(4), pages 279-295, November.
    2. KATO Takao & MIYAJIMA Hideaki & OWAN Hideo, 2016. "Does Employee Stock Ownership Work? Evidence from publicly-traded firms in Japan," Discussion papers 16073, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    3. Robert Buchele & Douglas L. Kruse & Loren Rodgers & Adria Scharf, 2010. "Show Me the Money: Does Shared Capitalism Share the Wealth?," NBER Chapters,in: Shared Capitalism at Work: Employee Ownership, Profit and Gain Sharing, and Broad-based Stock Options, pages 351-375 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. KATO Takao & KODAMA Naomi, 2015. "Performance-related Pay and Productivity: Evidence from Japan," Discussion papers 15088, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    5. Philip Mellizo & Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2014. "Workplace democracy in the lab," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 313-328, July.
    6. Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn L. Shaw, 2009. "Insider Econometrics: Empirical Studies of How Management Matters," NBER Working Papers 15618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

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