The Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing has announced the nation’s first academic research initiative dedicated to equity compensation. The Shares Laboratory will conduct research and policy analysis on company stock, stock options, employee stock purchase plans, and other shares in the workplace.
“A huge number of Americans receive equity compensation,” said Bill Castellano, a professor in the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations and co-leader of the Shares Laboratory. “There are many individual studies on its impact, but there’s never been a dedicated research program until now. The Shares Lab gives equity compensation an address – a place in higher education where policy, practice, and impact will be closely monitored.”
About a quarter of all private sector employees hold company stock or stock options as part of their compensation package, totaling about 26.3 million Americans. The Shares Lab will advance understanding of shares by:
The Shares Lab will be the Institute’s flagship “big data” program, monitoring a rich array of government databases, public records, and private surveys. Its reports will overnight become the gold standard for basic research on equity compensation. In addition, the Lab has created a model of the U.S. economy that breaks down the labor force by industry, workplace practices, equity access, income, wealth, and personal characteristics. This model will enable researchers to conduct experiments on critical questions.
“We know there are gender and racial gaps in equity compensation,” said Douglas Kruse, a distinguished professor in the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations and co-leader of the Shares Laboratory. “By using the model, we hope to learn which policy changes would extend shares to more women and people of color. We also hope to investigate how equity shares affect middle class incomes and wealth, among other key questions.”
Kruse is a former Senior Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama.
Bank of America, Computershare, Fidelity Investments, and Paypal are the initial supporters of the Shares Laboratory’s research effort. Google.org provided a major donation to support the collection of 2022 data. The Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program, the Employee Ownership Foundation, the Global Equity Organization, and the National Center for Employee Ownership will help to disseminate the reports.
“The Lab will provide the most objective analysis of equity compensation trends and will identify problems and opportunities in this field,” said Joo Hun Han, a Research Fellow in the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing and Co-Leader of the Shares Laboratory. “By engaging with practitioners, we hope to accelerate the impact of our research and propose innovations in equity compensation.”
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