Latest Issue

Perverse incentives

Shareholder value and stock options for senior managers have ruled big business since the 1990s. But they have led to costly mistakes and endless scandals

Little more than a decade ago, the US corporate world was suffering a crisis of confidence. American businesses were losing market share. Management experts vaunted the superiority of Japanese managers, with their emphasis on long-term planning and consensus. Today, the situation is reversed. Despite the ending of the long bull market and the collapse of the technology bubble, Americans retain a strong belief in the superiority of their business practices. These, we are told, have not only been responsible for the longest period of growth in US history, but also the briefest of recessions. The cause of this great turnaround…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect