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Employee Satisfaction, Labor Market Flexibility, and Stock Returns Around The World

Author

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  • Alex Edmans
  • Lucius Li
  • Chendi Zhang

Abstract

We study the relationship between employee satisfaction and abnormal stock returns around the world, using lists of the "Best Companies to Work For" in 14 countries. We show that employee satisfaction is associated with positive abnormal returns in countries with high labor market flexibility, such as the U.S. and U.K., but not in countries with low labor market flexibility, such as Germany. These results are consistent with high employee satisfaction being a valuable tool for recruitment, retention, and motivation in flexible labor markets, where firms face fewer constraints on hiring and firing. In contrast, in regulated labor markets, legislation already provides minimum standards for worker welfare and so additional expenditure may exhibit diminishing returns. The results have implications for the differential profitability of socially responsible investing ("SRI") strategies around the world. In particular, they emphasize the importance of taking institutional features into account when forming such strategies.

Suggested Citation

  • Alex Edmans & Lucius Li & Chendi Zhang, 2014. "Employee Satisfaction, Labor Market Flexibility, and Stock Returns Around The World," NBER Working Papers 20300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20300
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    Cited by:

    1. Baas, Timo & Belke, Ansgar, 2017. "Oil price shocks, monetary policy and current account imbalances within a currency union," CEPS Papers 13334, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    2. Stentella Lopes, F.S., 2015. "Bank performance and corporate culture," Other publications TiSEM d1dd88b2-5eb0-4aa7-be18-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    3. Chen, Jie & Leung, Woon Sau & Evans, Kevin P., 2016. "Are employee-friendly workplaces conducive to innovation?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 61-79.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions
    • J83 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Workers' Rights
    • J88 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Public Policy
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law

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