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

Following a year-long congressional investigation into Wells Fargo’s egregious consumer abuses, lax corporate management, and toxic corporate culture, CEO Charles Scharf and Well Fargo’s board members will testify before the House Financial Service Committee this week. This hearing comes in the wake of a detailed report, written by the Financial Services Committee staff, exposing the

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

For decades, regulators have had only limited success in taming a for-profit college industry that routinely defrauds students, inflates prices, and produces devastatingly bad outcomes for student loan borrowers. But recently, instead of promoting complex regulatory schemes, some policymakers have offered a simple solution: take away for-profit colleges’ federal subsidies. Today, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)

Corporate profits and executive pay are sky high today, while wages for most American workers have remained low and stagnant over the past several decades. Today’s high-profit, low-wage economy is, in part, a result of rules and policies that shape corporate decision-making. These rules have allowed CEOs, shareholders, and executives to move more and more

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