I provide an introduction to the recent theoretical and empirical research on employer labor market power and labor discipline in economics. Recent research in economics has suggested that employer market power is not an anomaly, but rather pervasive, and not due to labor market structure, but instead the nature of work as a commodity.. I discuss how employer wage-setting relates to Marxian economics and normative concepts of economic domination and exploitation, the measurement of inequality, and economic institutions of American slavery, indentures, and collective bargaining.
Suresh Naidu is Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He works on political economy and historical labor markets. He has a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley economics, a MA from UMass Amherst, and a B/Math from the University of Waterloo.