ICYMI: ‘Expanding Employee Ownership Should Be A Priority’

Home ICYMI: ‘Expanding Employee Ownership Should Be A Priority’

WASHINGTON – In the Stanford Social Innovation Review, James Boomgard notes that “there is at least one thing that Democrats, Republicans, and Independents all agree on: they would all rather work in an employee-owned firm than some other kind of enterprise. ‘Americans disagree about a lot of things, but this is not one of them,’ said Professor Joseph Blasi, Director of the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing. ‘Democrat or Republican, female or male, black or white, union or non-union, a majority of respondents [to a survey by the institute] said they prefer to work for a company with employee share ownership.’”

Boomgard continues: “Once you know the facts, however, it’s not surprising,” as a growing body of evidence demonstrates that “employee ownership is close to an unalloyed good and the only surprise is that we haven’t made more of a push to promote it.” For policymakers seeking to address economic challenges, including inequality and boosting retirement savings, “expanding employee ownership should be a priority,” he writes.

A 2016 analysis by economist Jared Bernstein, now a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, demonstrates that employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) help to close the wage and wealth gap between managers and workers in ESOP-owned companies. “Employee ownership — and ESOPs in particular — should be part of our national discussion on ways to reduce inequality,” Bernstein said in releasing the study.

And, in a new study released earlier this year, Bernstein again examines the benefits of employee ownership and, given that there are still relatively few U.S. ESOPs, proposes ways to encourage the formation of more employee-owned businesses. For example, Boomgard notes that Bernstein urges “the creation of a government office to assist small businesses that want to set up ESOPs or other shared ownership plans.”

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