There are two new papers up at the Roosevelt Institute, building on my Disgorge the Cash paper from last spring. The first, analytic, paper, written by me, attempts to respond to some of the most common criticisms of the idea that shareholders’ lust for payouts is holding back business investment — that investment is doing just fine actually; that payouts are just reallocating capital to its most socially valuable uses; and that there’s no legitimate grounds to challenge shareholder rule over corporations. The second paper, written by Mike Konczal, me, and my former student Amanda Page-Hongrajook, lays out a policy agenda, in the canonical ten points, for rolling back the shareholder revolution.
We released the reports at an event in DC last week with Mike, me, Lynn Stout, and Heather Slavkin of the AFL-CIO, headlined by Senator Tammy Baldwin. Based on my brief conversation with her, Senator Baldwin seems genuinely interested in this stuff. So hopefully, if nothing else, we’ll be able to continue pestering the SEC about shareholder payouts.
There was a nice writeup of the analytic paper by Jeff Spross at The Week; there were also pieces in the Huffington Post and at Bloomberg View. I was on NPR’s Marketplace, very briefly, off this stuff this morning; I’ll be on Bloomberg TV Wednesday afternoon, hopefully for longer.