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Is Wal-Mart a Monopsony? Evidence from Local Labor Markets

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  • Bonanno, Alessandro
  • Lopez, Rigoberto A.

Abstract

This paper measures the degree of monopsony power exerted by Wal-Mart over retail workers using a dominant-firm model and data in the 48 contiguous U.S. states for counties where the company operates, presenting for the first time a measure of the company’s anticompetitive behavior. Empirical results show that Wal-Mart’s monopsony power over workers varies significantly across the country, being higher in non-metro and rural counties, particularly in the south. For instance, Wal-Mart’s buying power index in labor markets in rural southern and central states is estimated to be 5% or higher while the impact on northeastern states’ retail wages is negligible.

Suggested Citation

  • Bonanno, Alessandro & Lopez, Rigoberto A., 2009. "Is Wal-Mart a Monopsony? Evidence from Local Labor Markets," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51289, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae09:51289
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/51289
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Emek Basker, 2007. "When Good Instruments Go Bad," Working Papers 0706, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
    2. Emek Basker, 2005. "Job Creation or Destruction? Labor Market Effects of Wal-Mart Expansion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 174-183, February.
    3. Khanna, Naveen & Tice, Sheri, 2000. "Strategic Responses of Incumbents to New Entry: The Effect of Ownership Structure, Capital Structure, and Focus," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(3), pages 749-779.
    4. Neumark, David & Zhang, Junfu & Ciccarella, Stephen, 2008. "The effects of Wal-Mart on local labor markets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 405-430, March.
    5. Jerry Hausman & Ephraim Leibtag, 2007. "Consumer benefits from increased competition in shopping outlets: Measuring the effect of Wal-Mart," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(7), pages 1157-1177.
    6. Paul W. Bauer & Yoonsoo Lee, 2006. "Estimating GSP and labor productivity by state," Policy Discussion Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Mar.
    7. Emek Basker & Michael Noel, 2009. "The Evolving Food Chain: Competitive Effects of Wal-Mart's Entry into the Supermarket Industry," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(4), pages 977-1009, December.
    8. Quandt, Richard E & Rosen, Harvey S, 1989. "Endogenous Output in an Aggregate Model of the Labor Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(3), pages 394-400, August.
    9. Dube, Arindrajit & Lester, T. William & Eidlin, Barry, 2007. "Firm Entry and Wages: Impact of Wal-Mart Growth on Earnings Throughout the Retail Sector," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt22s5k4pv, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wal-Mart; monopsony power; wages; labor; retailing; Community/Rural/Urban Development; Industrial Organization; Labor and Human Capital; Research Methods/ Statistical Methods; J42; L13; L81;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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