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Financial Participation: Does the Risk Transfer Story Hold in France?

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Abstract

Several articles report a positive effect of financial participation (profit sharing (PS) and employee share ownership) on firms' economic performance. This increase can be obtained in two main ways: by increasing the effort (extrinsic, intrinsic or commitment) of workers, directly or indirectly through worker selection; or by transferring more risk to the workers. The question is, of course, not neutral. Indeed, if the risk transfer story is true then it means that the increase of economic performance is obtained at the expense of workers, who take on the burden of more risks. The question is especially important in France where financial participation is associated with tax exemption for firms and where it is forbidden by law to substitute base wage and PS. The purpose of our article is to use an employer–employee dataset to answer the question of whether financial participation schemes are mainly designed as a risk transfer (from firms to workers) device.

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