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

Corporate profits are at record highs and unemployment is below 5 percent, yet 40 percent of Americans say that they would not be able to meet a $400 emergency. For too long we’ve been guided by the 50-year-old myth that fewer regulations and lower taxes on corporations and the wealthy will lead to economic growth

Companies today are not working the way that most Americans, policymakers, or the media think that they do. To fight inequality, we need to rewrite the laws that guide corporations. We must first, however, change the way that people understand the role of the American firm in our economy and explore how we can deploy

One justification made by proponents of stock buybacks is that the practice is an effective way for funds to flow from companies that do not “need” the cash out to shareholders, who will then invest it in companies that are issuing new shares to finance firm activity. Does this explanation show up in the data?1

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

Banks today are increasingly consolidating branch locations, while also moving away from low-cost financial services to high-profit activities, leaving marginalized Americans underserved and left behind in today’s economy. Without access to basic banking services, such as checking and savings accounts or small loans, consumers are vulnerable
to a host of financial abuses. To foster a more

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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With $1.5 trillion in outstanding student debt, more than 8 million borrowers in default, and millions more delinquent on their repayments, the student loan system today is holding Americans back from economic opportunity and stability. Faced with such troubling trends, Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos should be focused on relieving these burdens for borrowers.

Why This Matters is a series from Roosevelt staff connecting our individual work—from papers to reports and everything in between—to our broader vision of creating a better, more equitable economic and political system. This series will give readers the top takeaways from our latest writing and thinking, with a focus on why they matter as we