Broad-Based Employee Stock Ownership and Profit Sharing: History, Evidence, and Policy Implications
A literature review.
The purpose of this paper is to review the historical background for broad-based ownership in the USA, the development of forms of employee ownership and profit sharing in the USA, the research literature on employee ownership and profit sharing and related employee participation, the development of policy and options for new policies.
There are four reasons to be interested in employee stock ownership and profit sharing today: first, employee share ownership and profit sharing can increase worker pay and wealth and broaden the overall distribution of income and wealth, a key ingredient for a successful democracy. To be a tool for reducing inequality, employee stock ownership and profit sharing must be spread more widely and meaningfully than it is today. Second, employee share ownership and profit sharing provide incentives for more effort, cooperation, information sharing and innovation that can improve workplace performance and company productivity. Third, employee share ownership and profit sharing can save jobs by enhancing firm survival and employment stability, with wider economic benefits that come from decreasing unemployment. Fourth, employee share ownership and profit sharing can create more harmonious workplaces with greater corporate transparency and increased worker involvement in their work lives through access to information and participation in workplace decisions.