Stock schemes are a nice perk but they inevitably link workers’ happiness with the fluctuating price
Investor types like to pretend that trading shares is an emotion-free science. Apparently, it’s a serious business and definitely not a socially acceptable form of gambling for the upper-middle class. Back in the real world, it’s called playing the stock market for a reason, and lots of emotion was involved this year when Redditors sent shares in GameStop soaring (and the mood of regulators and hedge funds plummeting).
Now it’s common knowledge that a rising stock market improves public wellbeing – everyone perks up during a boom. Unsurprisingly, the impact is biggest for those with lots of shares, for good or ill: big shareholders saw the biggest rise in depression and antidepressant use during the great recession.
Torsten Bell is chief executive of the Resolution Foundation. Read more at resolutionfoundation.org