Marshall Steinbaum is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, where he researches market power and inequality. He works on tax policy, antitrust and competition policy, and the labor market. He is a co-editor of After Piketty: The Agenda for Economics and Inequality, and his work has appeared in Democracy, Boston Review, Jacobin, the Journal of Economic Literature, the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, and ProMarket. Steinbaum earned a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago.
America’s failing antitrust system is, in large part, to blame for today’s market power problem. Lax antitrust law and enforcement have allowed troubling trends like corporate consolidation to remain unchallenged, further embedding our skewed economy. In highly consolidated markets, consumers have limited choice and little power to pick their price, quality, or provider for the
Following decades of lax antitrust enforcement, the airline sector today suffers from a market power problem. Fewer firms means there is less competition, which is great for corporate profits but bad for consumers and other stakeholders. In “Airline Consolidation, Merger Retrospectives, and Oil Price Pass-Through,” Roosevelt Research Director Marshall Steinbaum studies the last 10 years
A Missing Link: The Role of Antitrust Law in Rectifying Employer Power in Our High-Profit, Low-Wage Economy
The American economy no longer functions to the benefit of American workers. Despite record profits and increased productivity, wages have been stagnant. In fact, despite being 75 percent more productive in 2016 than in 1973, the average worker earned just 12 percent more. An emerging body of research chronicles the extent of labor market monopsony—where
Today, the Roosevelt Institute released Powerless: How Lax Antitrust and Concentrated Market Power Rig the Economy Against American Workers, Consumers, and Communities, a report I wrote with my colleagues Eric Harris Bernstein and John Sturm. In this report, we catalog the growing body of evidence that strongly supports our view that the economy is afflicted
Powerless: How Lax Antitrust and Concentrated Market Power Rig the Economy Against American Workers, Consumers, and Communities
As workers, as consumers, and as citizens, Americans are increasingly powerless in today’s economy. A 40-year assault on antitrust and competition policy—the laws and regulations meant to guard against the concentration of power in private hands—has tipped the economy in favor of powerful corporations and their shareholders. Under the false assumption that the unencumbered ambitions
How does corporate power suppress worker wages? And why has it hit rural America especially hard? Please join Roosevelt Research Director Marshall Steinbaum and CNN’s Lydia DePillis on March 23 for a conversation about a key force driving Americans’ economic insecurity. Steinbaum’s latest research reveals how employers are using increasingly concentrated corporate power to shape the labor market
Labor economists have traditionally focused on worker-side characteristics, such as education, as the crucial causal variable for explaining outcomes like earnings, unemployment, and inequality. But that point of view depends on labor markets remaining competitive, so workers can earn their marginal product of labor—because if they earned less, they’d leave for another job. What a
The Levy Institute recently released a research paper I co-wrote with Stephanie Kelton, Scott Fulwiler, and Catherine Ruetschlin that models the macroeconomic impact of cancelling all of the student debt that is currently outstanding in the United States—just over $1.4 trillion, held by between 40 and 50 million borrowers. The federal government would write off
The problem of labor market monopsony—buyer power among employers—has gotten increasing attention in recent years, including in my 2016 Roosevelt Institute paper with Roosevelt fellow Mike Konczal, in a Council of Economic Advisors issue brief, and in a widely-circulated paper by economist Simcha Barkai. The basic idea of monopsony is that if employers don’t have
This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing about the consumer welfare standard to determine whether it is outdated or remains the worthwhile core principle of antitrust enforcement. The hearing comes amid widespread questioning about antitrust’s effectiveness in recent decades. As the debate over the AT&T-Time Warner merger rages, this hearing is particularly timely.