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

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

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14225.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14225.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2008
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    Publication status: published as Shared Capitalism in the U.S. Economy: Prevalence, Characteristics, and Employee Views of Financial Participation in Enterprises , Douglas L. Kruse, Joseph R. Blasi, Rhokeun Park. in Shared Capitalism at Work: Employee Ownership, Profit and Gain Sharing, and Broad-based Stock Options , Kruse, Freeman, and Blasi. 2010
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14225
    Note: LS
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Joseph R. Blasi & Douglas L. Kruse & Harry M. Markowitz, 2008. "Risk and Lack of Diversification under Employee Ownership and Shared Capitalism," NBER Working Papers 14229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Brent Boning & Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 2007. "Opportunity Counts: Teams and the Effectiveness of Production Incentives," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 613-650.
    3. Craig, Ben & Pencavel, John, 1992. "The Behavior of Worker Cooperatives: The Plywood Companies of the Pacific Northwest," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1083-105, December.
    4. Freeman, Richard B & Kleiner, Morris M, 1990. "The Impact of New Unionization on Wages and Working Conditions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S8-25, January.
    5. Takao Kato & Ju HO Lee & Kang-sung Lee & Jang-soo Ryu, 2005. "Employee participation and involvement in korea: evidence from a new survey and field research," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 251-281.
    6. Oyer, Paul & Schaefer, Scott, 2005. "Why do some firms give stock options to all employees?: An empirical examination of alternative theories," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 99-133, April.
    7. Gregg, P. A. & Machin, S. J., 1988. "Unions and the incidence of performance linked pay schemes in Britain," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 91-107, March.
    8. Douglas L. Kruse, 1993. "Profit Sharing: Does It Make a Difference?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number ps, June.
    9. Smith, Stephen C. & Cin, Beom-Cheol & Vodopivec, Milan, 1997. "Privatization Incidence, Ownership Forms, and Firm Performance: Evidence from Slovenia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 158-179, October.
    10. John W. Budd, 2010. "Does Employee Ignorance Undermine Shared Capitalism?," NBER Chapters, in: Shared Capitalism at Work: Employee Ownership, Profit and Gain Sharing, and Broad-based Stock Options, pages 291-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jones, Derek C & Kato, Takao, 1995. "The Productivity Effects of Employee Stock-Ownership Plans and Bonuses: Evidence from Japanese Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 391-414, June.
    12. 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.
    13. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
    14. Kochan, Thomas A., 1996. "What works at work : overview and assessment," Working papers 3886-96., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    15. FitzRoy, Felix R. & Kraft, Kornelius, 1995. "On the choice of incentives in firms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 145-160, January.
    16. Putterman, Louis & Skillman, Gil Jr., 1988. "The incentive effects of monitoring under alternative compensation schemes," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 109-119, March.
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