Lenore Palladino

Lenore Palladino is Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and a Research Associate at the Political Economy Research Institute. She holds a Ph.D. from the New School University in Economics and a J.D. from Fordham Law School. She is also a Contributing Editor at the Boston Review and a Fellow at the Rutgers Institute for Employee Ownership.

Lenore’s research centers on corporate power, stakeholder corporations, shareholder primacy, and the relationship between corporate governance and the labor market. She has also written on financial transaction taxes, employee ownership, and the rise of fintech. She has published in the Yale Journal of Regulation and Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law, as well as the Financial Times and State Tax Notes. Lenore frequently works with policymakers, media and advocates on corporate and financial policy. Recent working papers include “The Economic Argument for Stakeholder Corporations” and “Do Corporate Insiders use Stock Buybacks for Personal Gain?” Lenore’s papers can be found here. Lenore has testified on the impacts of stock buybacks before the House Financial Services Committee.

Most recently Lenore was Senior Economist and Policy Counsel at the Roosevelt Institute, and a Lecturer in Economics at Smith College.  She was previously Vice President for Advocacy at Demos and a Lecturer in Economics at New York University. In the first stage of her career, she was Campaign Director at MoveOn, a lead organizer with the labor union CSEA-AFSCME, and National Director of United Students Against Sweatshops.

 

Lenore Palladino in the News


Another Risk for Small Business: Lightly Regulated Fintech LoansBarrons

Coronavirus Stimulus Package to Include Curbs on Share Buybacks, Wall Street Journal

End Shareholder Primacy Once and For AllBoston Review

With the CARES Act corporate bailout underway, large corporations are once again being rescued by a hurting American public. No one doubts that stabilizing the economy and saving jobs as a first priority is absolutely critical. What’s also necessary is to understand what factors—besides the coronavirus—made large corporations so vulnerable in this moment.  One factor

As millions face unemployment and dire financial prospects amid the coronavirus pandemic, hotels, airlines, and other large corporations are repeating the script of 2008: asking for massive public bailouts after years of extractive shareholder payments. Before the government buoys these companies with the public’s money, we must ensure that they are resilient in the future

In The Contribution of Shareholder Primacy to the Racial Wealth Gap, Roosevelt Fellow Lenore Palladino explores several ways of evaluating the impact of disparate equity ownership, and payments to shareholders, on racial wealth disparities. Using data from the Federal Reserve’s Distributional Financial Accounts and S&P Compustat, Palladino measures corporate equity ownership by race and ethnicity

Thank you, Chairwoman Maloney and Ranking Member Huizenga, for inviting me to speak today. It is an honor to be here. My name is Lenore Palladino, and I am Assistant Professor of Economics & Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, and Research Associate at the Political Economy

Late last month, the Business Roundtable (BRT)—a collection of 181 of the country’s largest corporations—announced that it was breaking from over 20 years of precedent. Instead of prioritizing shareholder value over everything else, the BRT declared that it would elevate the interests of all other stakeholders—including customers, communities, and suppliers—alongside it. Most notably, the very

In a new working paper, Roosevelt Senior Economist and Fellow Lenore Palladino argues that the 21st century American economy requires a new, more accurate, and more effective model for corporate governance—one that can advance worker power and employee representation within American corporations and curb inequality. As it stands, outsized shareholder power is contributing to rising economic

The mainstream economic theory that guides corporations in the US only works if markets are perfectly efficient. This flawed theory has led to corporate decision-making that centers shareholders above all else, including other stakeholders (e.g., workers), long-term business growth, and economic health. This shareholder-first ideology is referred to as “shareholder primacy,” which does not reflect

In a working paper, Roosevelt Senior Economist and Policy Counsel Lenore Palladino investigates whether stock buybacks occur more frequently, independent of other factors, when corporate insiders are selling their own personal shareholdings. In her empirical analysis of the relationship between insider sales and stock buybacks, Palladino finds that a 10 percent increase in insider sales

Tomorrow at Walmart’s shareholders’ meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas, Walmart workers will call out America’s broken corporate governance system and propose that Walmart workers be included on its board of directors. Walmart associate Cat Davis will be joined by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who will speak on behalf of workers’ right to participate in corporate decision-making.

Economic inequality is on the rise. Corporate “shareholder primacy” means that the vast majority of today’s record corporate profits are used to increase the wealth of shareholders, through dividends and stock buybacks.[1] Meanwhile, real wages for non-executive workers have essentially remained stagnant for decades. Increasing worker bargaining power in the 21st century is necessary, and

For nearly half of a century, America’s public corporations have been driven by a shareholder primacy approach to corporate governance, increasingly prioritizing shareholder payments over other, more productive uses of corporate resources. Over the same period, employee bargaining power has decreased and wages for nonexecutive workers have remained flat across sectors. In Ending Shareholder Primacy in Corporate Governance,

Today, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced the STOP Walmart Act, which prohibits large companies from engaging in stock buybacks unless they make serious investments in their workers. While the act takes aim at Walmart, the country’s largest private employer, it highlights the theme of my work: that excessive giveaways to

The 2016 corruption scandal at Wells Fargo, in which executives pressured employees to meet “wildly unrealistic sales targets,” created a work environment described as “relentless pressure.” Once revealed, the massive fraud committed against millions of consumers led to congressional hearings, substantial fines by state and federal regulators, and a series of announced changes by Wells

Corporations today operate according to a model of corporate governance known as “shareholder primacy.” This theory claims that the purpose of a corporation is to generate returns for shareholders, and that decision-making should be focused on a singular goal: maximizing shareholder value. This single-minded focus—which often comes at the expense of investments in workers, innovation,

Editor’s Note: On August 15, 2018, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the Accountable Capitalism Act, legislation that would require corporations to consider the interests of all stakeholders within the firm—not only shareholders—in company decisions. Corporations are made up of a wide range of stakeholders: workers, managers, executives, and shareholders. Currently, only executives and shareholders have the

Introduction On Tuesday, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)—one of the nation’s banking regulators—announced that it will allow non-bank financial technology companies (fintechs) to apply for national bank status. This may sound like a plain-vanilla regulatory move, but it is a move in the wrong direction from regulation that would truly protect

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For a full analysis of why stock buybacks artificially boost share prices and reward shareholders and executives to the real detriment of workers and our economy at large, see Stock Buybacks: Driving a High-Profit, Low-Wage Economy. Monday’s bold speech by Robert Jackson Jr., Commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), will hopefully mark the

The rules that shape corporate America incentivize behavior that has led to the economic puzzle we see today: high corporate profits coupled with low and stagnant wages. “Shareholder primacy” is the practice in which corporations prioritize shareholder payouts over productive investment and employee compensation. This way of operating dominates corporate decision-making today, so employees have

The dramatic rise in stock buybacks following the passage of the GOP tax plan, also known as the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, has elevated the role stock buybacks play in on our economy. Estimates have shown more than $100 billion in new stock buyback programs have been authorized since the tax law’s passage. Additionally,

Submitted testimony from Lenore Palladino, Senior Economist and Policy Counsel, Roosevelt Institute March 15, 2018   Dear Senator Martin, Senator Winfield, Representative Lesser and Members of the Banking Committee: My name is Lenore Palladino. I am a Senior Economist and Policy Counsel at the Roosevelt Institute. Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you

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In the six weeks since the passage of the GOP tax plan, officially known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, businesses have been lauded for announcements of wages and bonuses. Yet it’s corporate stock buybacks—the practice of companies spending their cash on buying back their own shares in order to raise share prices overall—that

Larry Fink’s annual letter to CEOs is making waves for its pronouncement that “companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.” Fink is the head of $6.3 trillion dollar asset manager BlackRock and the leader of a rising chorus calling on companies to stop focusing

The ability of workers to bargain for a greater share of a firm’s corporate profits has eroded over decades, and one of the growing drivers of this reality is the financialization of the corporate sector. Corporate financialization can be summed up as two behaviors: firms (like Walmart or Pfizer) increasingly earning profits from financial activity

Yesterday, two nominees went before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee for a chance to become the next commissioners of the Securities and Exchange Commission. We were thrilled to see Senator Brian Schatz ask the nominees to give their thoughts about the stock buyback “safe harbor,” Rule 10b-18, and even more excited that both

Progressives should embrace employee ownership as one of the best ways to challenge corporate power from the bottom up and put supporting the growth of worker-owned firms in the center of our strategy. As the economy becomes Uber-ized and dominant firms in all sectors take up more and more market share, structural reforms like better

With all the discussion on Trump’s tax plan, you could be forgiven for thinking the current tax code is a good tax system. Today’s tax system creates a disproportionate concentration of wealth in the corporate and financial sectors, while leaving revenue on the table that could be put to productive use. In a recent paper,

Despite energetic conversations around stagnant wages and job creation, few consider that the financialization of America’s public corporations has contributed just as much to economic inequality as more commonly-cited factors. The debate seems well-settled: scholars point to globalization[1], skill-biased technical change[2], and the decline of union density[3]. Others point to the “rise of the robots”[4],

Our debate about what is possible in U.S. policy is severely constrained by the assumption that our public resources are scarce and already overspent, meaning we are not capable of the large-scale social investments needed to provide every American with income security and a dignified life. This assumption is misguided and false. Implementing tax policies

“It’s everything related to jobs… shipyards, ironworks, get them all jacked up. We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks.” -Donald Trump Amid discussion of the Trump administration’s plans for bringing back manufacturing, we should not lose sight of one of the best opportunities for job creation: investing

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said yesterday that “the economy is doing well” as she announced the Fed’s third benchmark rate hike since the Great Recession. Yet there are important arguments against the rate hike: Unemployment hasn’t fallen to the level it reached in the late 1990s; wages are still stagnant; people of color are

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