Shareholder value and the transformation of the U.S. economy, 1984-2000

Neil Fligstein, Taekjin Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using data from 62 U.S. industries for 1984-2000, this article explores the connections between shareholder value strategies, such as mergers and layoffs, and related industry-level changes, such as de-unionization, computer technology, and profitability. In line with shareholder value arguments, mergers occurred in industries with low profits, and industries where mergers were active subsequently saw an increase in layoffs. Industries with a high level of mergers increased investment in computer technology. This technology displaced workers through layoffs and was focused on reducing unionized workforces. Contrary to shareholder value arguments, there is no evidence that mergers or layoffs returned industries to profitability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-424
Number of pages26
JournalSociological Forum
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • De-unionization
  • Economy
  • Layoffs
  • Mergers
  • Shareholder value
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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