Sanford M Jacoby

Sanford M Jacoby
University of California, Los Angeles | UCLA · History Management; Public Policy; and History

Ph.D., Economics, UC Berkeley, 1981

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92
Publications
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Introduction
Sanford M Jacoby is Distinguished Research Professor in UCLA''s Anderson School of Management, Luskin School of Public Affairs, and Department of History. He does research in Economic History, Industrial Relations, Corporate Governance, Japan, and Labor Economics. His forthcoming book is "Labor in the Age of Finance"
Additional affiliations
July 1980 - present
University of California, Los Angeles
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (92)
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The essay reflects on the history of shareholder primacy and labor and draws out implications for the present. It's a draft that for a symposium on my recent book, Labor in the Age of Finance, to appear in Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal.
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The ‘sharing economy’ epitomized by Airbnb and Uber has challenged business, labor, and regulatory institutions throughout the world. The arrival of Airbnb and Uber in Japan provided an opportunity for Prime Minister Abe’s administration to demonstrate its commitment to deregulation. Both platform companies garnered support from powerful government...
Preprint
Full-text available
The 'sharing economy' epitomized by Airbnb and Uber has challenged business, labor, and regulatory institutions throughout the world. The arrival of Airbnb and Uber in Japan provided an opportunity for Prime Minister Abe's administration to demonstrate its commitment to deregulation. Both platform companies garnered support from powerful government...
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This article is an historical analysis of the U.S. labor movement’s shareholder activism during the 2000s, which was based on their pension-plan assets. During the previous decade, corporate governance had tilted to give shareholders greater voice in corporate decisions. The protagonists were public pension plans such as CalPERS. Come the 2000s, th...
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Introduction: We live in an era of financialization. Since 1980, capital markets have expanded around the world; capital shuttles the global instantaneously. Shareholder concerns drive executive decision-making and compensation, while the fluctuations of stock markets are a source of public anxiety. So are the financial scandals that have regularly...
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US institutional investors are a key actor helping to diffuse shareholderprimacy precepts overseas, including Japan. This study focuses on CalPERS, the public pension fund that is one of Japan's largest foreign equity investors. Using original sources, the article shows how CalPERS transferred to Japan the activist tactics and governance principles...
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This paper considers the association between financial development and labor-market outcomes such as risk and inequality. The relationship is not straightforward, however. It is mediated by politics at the national and corporate levels. Politics spurs financial development, which sets in motion countervailing efforts to restrain the effect of finan...
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The new institutional labor economics is a promising development, but it has faults that could be remedied by an infusion of theoretical and methodological insights from the old institutional approach. This claim is illustrated by a critical analysis of three key concepts: asset specificity, defefrred rewards, and opportunism. The essay concludes w...
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The history of employee attitude testing in American industry is presented as an example of how behavioral science has been used by management as a tool for solving industrial relations problems. Developed in the twenties, worker attitude surveys were widely used during the late thirties and after World War II to improve employee relations and empl...
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For many purposes, the economic impact of unions is better measured by the proportion of union wages in total payrolls rather than by the proportion of unionized employees in the overall workforce. We use recently available Current Population Survey data to generate estimates of the former. We also show that published data from the Survey on median...
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Through a case study of a large industrial company (TRW), this paper examines the history and functioning of independent local unions (ILUs). TRW's ILU plant wages were about the same as those at affiliated union plants and higher than those at nonunion plants. The premium explains why TRW and other companies discarded ILUs in favor of a “new” nonu...
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A growing literature discusses the convergence of national systems of corporate governance. Fostering convergence are activist institutional investors, especially from the United States. The following is a case study of one institutional investor - the giant pension fund, CalPERS - and its efforts to change governance in Japan over the past 15 year...
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Is there one best way to run the modern business corporation? What is the appropriate balance between shareholders, executives, and employees? These questions are being vigorously debated as layoffs, scandals, and restructurings rattle companies around the world. The common assumption is that globalization is merging the varieties of corporate capi...
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U.S. institutional investors are a key actor helping to diffuse shareholder-primacy precepts overseas, including to Japan. This study focuses on CalPERS, the public pension fund that is one of Japan's largest foreign equity investors. Using original sources, the article shows how CalPERS transferred to Japan the activist tactics and governance prin...
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Icarus in the Boardroom: The Fundamental Flaws in Corporate America and Where They Came From. By SkeelDavid. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. viii + 250 pp. Index, notes. Cloth, $25.00. ISBN: 0-195-17471-2. - Volume 79 Issue 3 - Sanford M. Jacoby
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These days, Americans seem to take their corporate governance model for granted. Shareholder interests are now all that matter. But the author traces the history of corporate governance to show that such models change over time. And they are different in other nations, such as Japan. In his view, American-style corporate governance has resulted in...
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Based on an original survey of senior human resources (HR) executives, this paper provides empirical data for a comparison of HR management structures and practices in Japan and the United States. In both countries, the headquarters HR function has shrunk and employment decisions have become more decentralized in recent years. However, because the...
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This essay discusses various aspects of corporate organization in Japan and the United States. First it examines some concrete empirical questions, such as relative differences in decentralization of decision-making, and in outsourcing. Next it turns to more theoretical and historical questions to do with the meaning of embeddedness (in what sense...
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These days, Americans seem to take their corporate governance model for granted. Shareholder interests are what matter. But this essay traces the history of corporate governance to show that such models change over time. And they are different in other nations, such as Japan. I argue that American-style corporate governance has resulted in wage ine...
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Based on data from an original survey of senior HR executives in Japan and the United States, this paper provides empirical data for evaluating institutional convergence. In both countries, the headquarters HR function has shrunk and that employment decisions have become more decentralized. However, because the pace of change has been more rapid in...
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We investigate the changing structure of Japanese and US companies and ask whether there are signs of national convergence in corporate organization. We present three types of evidence to address this question: longitudinal data, cross-sectional survey data and structural equation models (SEM). The models are ideal types of Japanese and US companie...
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Deftly blending social and business history with economic analysis, Employing Bureaucracy shows how the American workplace shifted from a market-oriented system to a bureaucratic one over the course of the 20th century. Jacoby explains how an unstable, haphazard employment relationship evolved into one that was more enduring, equitable, and career-...
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Those who view Europe as having insufficient geographic mobility often draw a comparison to the United States, where mobility is higher. But the disparity in mobility is not an innate characteristic differentiating European and U.S. labor markets. Rather, mobility rates have fluctuated over time in the United States and in Europe in response to cha...
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Labor Markets and Firm Benefit Policies in Japan and the United States. Edited by Seiritsu Ogura, Toshiaki Tachibanaki, and David A. Wise. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003. Pp. ix, 400. $99.00 - - Volume 64 Issue 3 - SANFORD M. JACOBY
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This essay surveys economic thought in Britain and the United States to assess the influence that economists have had on developments in the marketplace and in government (and also to show reverse causation; economic thinking is less free of historical circumstances than economists appreciate). Next it examines whether recent Anglo-American develop...
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If innovative work practices improve performance, why does the intensity of their adoption vary substantially across establishments? Following a lead suggested by some sociological studies, the authors empirically investigate the role of social networks (ties to other organizations) in the organizational learning associated with diffusion of innova...
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This article analyzes what happened to independent local unions (ILUs), also known as company unions, since 1935. After providing a statistical analysis of ILU membership since 1935, the article looks at the factors that shaped membership trends: changes in labor law, the characteristics of ILUs, worker attitudes toward ILUs, and employers' industr...
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According to many pundits, we are living in a “high-risk society,” a kind of postmodern frontier economy (Mandel 1996). Workers are being advised to take care of themselves and their kin because government, unions, and corporations are unwilling to shoulder as much risk as in the past. Public programs such as Social Security and Medicare are in fis...
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Pundits of globalization predict the eventual demise of the stakeholder corporate governance model found in Europe and Japan and its replacement by the Anglo-American shareholder model. Were this to occur, it would sharply change the relationship of employees to their employer in many parts of the world. Yet it's not obvious that convergence is ine...
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Despite corporate downsizing and the rise of Silicon Valley, career-type employment practices remain prevalent in the United States. Evidence to support this claim is drawn from a variety of data on employee tenure and mobility; job creation and job quality; employer responses to labor-market tightness; and benefit and pay structures. Yet while car...
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A re current employer practices qualitatively different from those of the recent past? This is the issue dividing Peter Cappelli and myself. Unlike Cappelli, I do not think that the institutions of the postwar U.S. labor market have undergone a structural transformation, certainly nothing so drastic as to warrant an obituary. Social scientists regu...
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A major issue currently being debated in the U.S. is whether to allow employers to establish works councils, employee committees, or other representational systems not permitted under the current labor laws. I bring economic, political, and historical analysis to bear on this issue and recommend an experimental relaxation of current law proscribing...
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Recent studies of job tenure raise the question of the appropriate duration statistic to use in historical research. This article compares duration measures and examines their empirical and theoretical implications for historical research on employment tenure. Using a variety of data from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, we find t...
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Recent studies of job tenure raise the question of the appropriate duration statistic to use in historical research. This article compares duration measures and examines their empirical and theoretical implications for historical research on employment tenure. Using a variety of data from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, we find t...
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This study of company unionism at Thompson Products (today TRW) calls into question the usual characterization of company unions as uniformly ineffectual and short-lived. The company unions examined in this study were fostered and overseen by Thompson's managers with the undoubted purpose of keeping national unions out of the company's work force....
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This paper uses a variety of data sources to document the effect of long-term contracts (LTCs) on wage dispersion. The paper first shows that LTCs are responsible for the decrease in wage dispersion observed as labor markets tighten; absent LTCs (as in most other advanced nations outside North America), this effect does not exist. The paper next ex...
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Despite recent interest in the history of the American worker, relatively little attention has been paid to the evolution of corporate employment and labor relations practices, particularly in the nonunion sector. In this article, Professor Jacoby examines the employee attitude testing program at Sears, Roebuck and Company and places it in a larger...
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Two-tier pay plans, under which new hires are paid on a lower pay scale than existing employees, have been used with increasing frequency in union-management contracts. The two-tier phenomenon appears to be associated with the wider concession bargaining movement that began in the early 1980s. In this study, management attitudes toward and forecast...
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In recent years, the American industrial relations system has undergone considerable stress. One byproduct of a stressful period is that old ways of conducting industrial relations are being increasingly questioned. The fact that questions are raised, however, does not necessarily mean that the climate for change is receptive to all suggestions. In...
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Recent wage concessions have led to renewed speculation about the future of unionism in the United States. Some believe that the unions' current dilemmas do not herald a major turning point in industrial relations. But there are reasons to think that the decline of unionism will not easily be reversed. If the unions continue to shrink, expanded gov...
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This paper presents an analysis of several experiments in union-management cooperation that took place during the 1920s. The author examines the economic and social factors that influenced the formation, operation, and decline of these experiments. Although observers at that time hoped that union-management cooperation would be widely adopted, it e...
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of California, Berkeley. Includes bibliographical references.

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Projects (3)
Project
Employment and the Pandemic: A Comparative Analysis
Project
Unions, pensions, and corporate governance
Project
The Sharing Economy in Japan