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Selling Company Shares to Reluctant Employees: France Telecom's Experience

  • Economics
  • Political Science


In 1997, France T‚l‚com, the state-owned French telephone company, went through a partial privatization. The government offered current and prior France T‚l‚com employees the opportunity to buy portfolios of shares with various combinations of discounts, required holding periods, leverage, tax treatment, and levels of downside protection. We adapt a neoclassical model of investment decision-making that takes into account firm-specific human capital and holding period restrictions to predict how employees might respond to the share offers. Using a database that tracks over 200,000 eligible participants, we analyze the employees' characteristics and their decisions whether to participate; how much to invest; and what form of stock alternatives they selected.

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