The Shareholder Movement: Shareholder Activism & Activists in the Twentieth Century

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The Shareholder Movement: Shareholder Activism & Activists in the Twentieth Century

History Hangout: Conversation with Brian Sarginger

 

Brian Sarginger

Gregory Hargreaves interviews Brian Sarginger about his dissertation project “The Shareholder Movement: Shareholder Activism & Activists in the Twentieth Century.” In support of his work, Sarginger, a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland, received exploratory and Henry Belin du Pont research grants from the Hagley Center for the History of Business, Technology, & Society. 

In “The Shareholder Movement,” Sarginger traces the rise of shareholder activism as a factor in the structure of American corporate power, shifting control of firms away from management and toward a growing body of public investors. Shareholder activists organized around institutional investors with disproportionate influence, and leveraged advantages of scale to pursue their interests. Sarginger suggests that twentieth-century shareholder activism reveals a set of values wider than simple return maximization, including multiple social issues from employment to the environment.