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Monopsony in the US Labor Market

Author

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  • Chen Yeh
  • Claudia Macaluso
  • Brad Hershbein

Abstract

This paper quantifies employer market power in US manufacturing and how it has changed over time. Using administrative data, we estimate plant-level markdowns—the ratio between a plant's marginal revenue product of labor and its wage. We find most manufacturing plants operate in a monopsonistic environment, with an average markdown of 1.53, implying a worker earning only 65 cents on the marginal dollar generated. To investigate long-term trends for the entire sector, we propose a novel, theoretically grounded measure for the aggregate markdown. We find that it decreased between the late 1970s and the early 2000s, but has been sharply increasing since.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen Yeh & Claudia Macaluso & Brad Hershbein, 2022. "Monopsony in the US Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 112(7), pages 2099-2138, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:112:y:2022:i:7:p:2099-2138
    DOI: 10.1257/aer.20200025
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    7. Gibson, Matthew, 2021. "Employer Market Power in Silicon Valley," IZA Discussion Papers 14843, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    9. Shubhdeep Deb & Jan Eeckhout & Aseem Patel & Lawrence Warren, 2022. "What Drives Wage Stagnation: Monopsony or Monopoly?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 20(6), pages 2181-2225.
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    11. Shubhdeep Deb & Jan Eeckhout & Aseem Patel & Lawrence Warren, 2022. "Market Power And Wage Inequality," Working Papers 22-37, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    12. KIKUCHI Shinnosuke, 2024. "Trends in National and Local Market Concentration in Japan: 1980-2020," Discussion papers 24049, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    13. Kosuke Aoki & Yoshihiko Hogen & Kosuke Takatomi, 2023. "Price Markups and Wage Setting Behavior of Japanese Firms," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 23-E-5, Bank of Japan.
    14. Mihoko Shimamoto, 2023. "Normative Corporate Income Tax with Rent for SDGs’ Funding: Case of the U.S," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(4), pages 1-18, February.
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    17. Erik Hurst & Patrick J. Kehoe & Elena Pastorino & Thomas Winberry, 2022. "The Distributional Impact of the Minimum Wage in the Short and Long Run," NBER Working Papers 30294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Casacuberta, Carlos & Gandelman, Néstor, 2023. "Wage councils, product markups and wage markdowns: Evidence from Uruguay," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 87(C).
    19. Schiavone, Ansel, 2023. "Labor market concentration and labor share dynamics for US regional industries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).
    20. Thomas Hasenzagl & Luis Perez, 2023. "The Micro-Aggregated Profit Share," Papers 2309.12945, arXiv.org, revised Nov 2023.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General

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