Foundation For Enterprise Development

General Social Survey (GSS)

Next to the U.S. Census and the Federal Reserve Board’s Survey for Consumer Finances, the GSS is the most important survey of social and economic patterns and attitudes used by our government. It is the predominant survey used by the government on social and economic attitudes and behaviors. Because the GSS has mainly public fundings, its databases are open to all researchers world-wide to use for the purpose of scientific analysis.

The FED supported the addition of a shared capitalism component to the GSS since its inclusion in the survey in 2002. The opportunity for objective scientific research on these topics has increased. For the 2010 survey, in collaboration with the Employee Ownership Foundation, the National Center for Employee Ownership, and the Profit Sharing Council of America, the FED is supporting the addition of supplemental questions on the topic.

The GSS 2010 will survey a random sample of all U.S. adults in 2010 and publish the results in 2011. Previous GSS data sets have been used for several Ph.D. theses on employee ownership.

A book on shared capitalism titled Shared Capitalism at Work: Employee Ownership, Profit and Gain Sharing, and Broad-Based Stock Options (editors: Douglas L. Kruse, Richard B. Freeman and Joseph R. Blasi) was published in the spring of 2010 and included many analyses of GSS data. An abstract is available at the National Bureau of Economic Research Web site.

Broad-Based Equity Compensation

The FED supported the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) in updating a consolidated data set on equity compensation—including broad-based stock options—of more than 500 public companies. The last time that the NCEO performed this consolidation, numerous path-breaking publications on broad-based equity arose.

The NCEO initial study, compiled in 1998, included 500 companies and had only been sporadically maintained. This data set had been used by many studies on the impact of broad-based equity plans and corporate performance:

  • “Broad-based Employee Stock Options in the U.S.: Company Performance and Characteristics,” the first presentation of the results at the 2000 Academy of Management meeting, won a highly coveted Best Paper Award from the Academy that year.
  • “Public Companies with Broad-Based Stock Options: Corporate Performance from 1992-1997,” based on the NCEO data set, is published on the Web by the NCEO.
  • “Broad-based Employee Stock Options in US 'New Economy' Firms,” the seminal academic article proving the productivity effects of broad-based stock options in public companies, was based on the NCEO database and appeared in the highly respected British Journal of Industrial Relations.
  • “Broad-Based Stock Options and Company Performance: What the Research Tells US,” a popular article for practitioners, was published in the Journal of Employee Ownership Law and Finance and is available online as a Rutgers Working paper.

Research of this nature is critical to promoting visibility of the merits of equity compensation and energizing continued studies to further the depth of knowledge in this area. Availability of up-to-date data sets is an essential resource for these researchers.

Academic Research

The FED sponsors inter-disciplinary research focused on how broad-based ownership models motivate employees, improves firm performance, advances innovation, and supports economic development.