During the 1980s and 1990s maximizing shareholder value became the dominant principle of corporate governance in the United States. Over the same period, there was a general worsening of the U.S. distribution of income, with real incomes of a large proportion of the population actually declining. This movement in the income distribution reversed a trend toward more equality in the post-World War II decades, thus raising the question of the sustainability of U.S. prosperity at the end of the century.
In this book, the authors explore the relation between the governance of corporations in the era of shareholder value and the evolution of employment opportunities in the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s.
The volume contains studies of the rise of shareholder value as a dominant principle of corporate governance, the types of skill bases in which U.S. industrial corporations were willing and able to invest (focusing specifically on the cases of machine tools, aircraft engines and medical equipment) in the 1980s and 1990s, and the implications of the new mode of corporate governance for the distribution of income in the U.S. It also provides comparative perspectives with the experiences of Japan and Germany.