Why (Only) ESOPs?

39 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2012

Date Written: October 1, 2006


This essay, an abbreviated rendition of the author's What Kinds of Stock-Ownership Plans Should There Be?, considers the prospects for generalizing the familiar Employee Stock-Ownership Plan - or 'ESOP' - in a manner that affords ownership stakes in firms to more people than currently hold this form of capital. The ESOP, it argues, is a suboptimal form of capital spreading by dint of its concentration of risk: employees receive shares in the same firms for which they labor, meaning that their labor and capital incomes alike ride on the health of the same firms. The financial structure of the ESOP, however, can be replicated in forms that to not render shareholding in a given firm contingent on labor for that particular firm. The essay makes good on that claim by provisionally sketching a number of other 'SOP' forms that, were they incented by the Revenue Code as is the ESOP, could proliferate and make of the U.S. a true 'ownership society.'

Keywords: Employee, stock, ownership, plans, labor, financial structures

Suggested Citation

Hockett, Robert C., Why (Only) ESOPs? (October 1, 2006). Stanford Journal of Law, Business, and Finance, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2006, Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-17, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2046065

Robert C. Hockett (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States

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