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.
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.