Codetermination—a system of shared corporate governance between shareholders and workers—has been mostly ignored within the U.S. corporate governance literature. When it has made an appearance, it has largely served as a foil for shareholder primacy and as an example of corporate deviance. However, over the last fifteen years—and especially in the last five—empirical research on codetermination has shown surprising results as to the system’s efficiency, resilience, and benefits to stakeholders.
This Article reviews the extant American legal scholarship on codetermination and provides a fresh look at the current state of codetermination theory and practice. Rather than experiencing the failures predicted by our law-and-economics framework of shareholder primacy, codetermination has fared better than alternative systems, particularly with respect to the ravages of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. At a time when corporate leaders, politicians, and academics are rethinking the shareholder primacy model, this Article presents an updated perspective on codetermination and invites U.S. scholars to reexamine their prior assumptions.