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, Lenore Palladino examines the effects of shareholder-first ideology on employees and explores critical policies necessary to rebalance power within US corporations. By exploring changes over the last several decades in the relationships between rising profits, shareholder payments, and labor expenses, she bolsters the hypothesis that shareholders’ gains come at the expense of employees and the economy at large.

Ultimately, Palladino proposes a bold policy agenda—one that ends the practice of stock buybacks and institutes a stakeholder approach to corporate governance—in order to discourage decades-old corporate behavior that puts shareholders above all else.