Corporate market power touches virtually every facet of American life—from health care costs and access to grocery stores to our environment and the strength of our democratic institutions. Public benefits programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid, provide essential protections for workers and families from the harms of concentrated market power, including the prevalence of low-paid work. However, little attention has been paid to the complex relationships between public benefits and corporate market power. This working paper examines some of the relationships between corporate market power and public benefits and spotlights opportunities for further exploration of this emerging area of research.
From Exclusion to Opportunity: The Role of Postsecondary Education in Labor Force Segregation & Recommendations for Action
A four-year postsecondary degree offers opportunities for a higher income and upward economic mobility. However, postsecondary education—historically inaccessible to people of color and women—also plays a key role in reproducing and amplifying societal inequities by sorting students into specialized fields of study by race and gender, contributing to a segregated labor force. This report examines the link between postsecondary field of study and labor market segregation using an original quantitative analysis. This report presents four principles and corresponding recommendations that postsecondary institutions and policymakers can use to reduce racial and gender segregation across fields of study, increase degree attainment, and ultimately, ameliorate labor market segregation.
Market power and corporate consolidation have increased in recent decades, concentrating economic and political power among fewer corporations across the country. This report examines the implications of market power in the agricultural sector–particularly in crop production, animal production, and animal slaughtering. Market power, deeply intertwined with economic inequality and structural racism, contributes to low pay, dangerous working conditions, and other harms to workers of color.
Concentrated Power, Concentrated Harm: Market Power’s Role in Creating & Amplifying Racial & Economic Inequality
Market power exists when one or more companies can profitably set prices for goods, services, and wages; and determine the quality, accessibility, and availability of goods and services. Market power, intertwined with deeply entrenched structural racism and class inequality, can have life-or-death consequences. This report explores the real-world impact of market power on the lives of people of color and people with low incomes–as workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs–their communities, and society at large. The research shows that market power contributes to economic insecurity and hardship in low-income communities and communities of color, including by driving down wages and benefits; limiting and controlling the availability of goods, services, and jobs; and undermining American prosperity and democracy.