Center for American Progress

: Debating Wal-Mart’s Impact on America’s Workers
Past Event

Debating Wal-Mart’s Impact on America’s Workers

12:00 AM - 11:59 PM EST

Debating Wal-Mart’s Impact on America’s Workers

Few companies have created as much controversy as Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart’s critics charge that the company often destroys jobs, depresses wages, suppresses worker rights, and imposes major costs on the public. Defenders say the company creates jobs, cuts prices for lower-wage Americans, and represents a free-market success.

The Center for American Progress asked a distinguished group of experts to debate the company’s impact on the American economy and local communities. These experts will address issues such as: the economic benefits and costs of Wal-Mart’s practices, whether Wal-Mart’s business model is necessary for achieving profitability, whether Wal-Mart’s practices produce an increased dependency on government, and the implications of Wal-Mart’s practices in the global economy.


Intro and Leo J. Hindery Jr.
•  Jason Furman
•  Arindrajit Dube 
Q and A

Note: All video provided in  QuickTime (MPEG-4)  format.

Full transcript (PDF)

Writings from our panelists:

• Wal-Mart’s Giant Sucking Sound, by Leo J. Hindery Jr.
• Wal-Mart and Job Quality – What Do We Know, and Should We Care?, Arindrajit Dube, PhD and Steve Wertheim (PDF)
• Wal-Mart: A Progressive Success Story, by Jason Furman (PDF)


Arindrajit Dube, Research Economist, UC Berkeley Institute of Industrial Relations
Jason Furman, Visiting Scholar, New York University’s Wagner School
Leo J. Hindery Jr., Managing Partner, InterMedia Partners VII, LLP
Moderated by:
Robert Gordon, Senior Vice President for Economic Policy, Center for American Progress

Arindrajit Dube is a labor economist who has worked on the issues of low-wage work and job quality, outsourcing, and employment-based health care. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago, and his Masters in Development Policy Studies from Stanford University. Dr. Dube’s areas of expertise include health care, the minimum wage, restructuring in the retail labor market, and labor relations. Dr. Dube’s recent research includes studying the impact of Wal-Mart on retail sector earnings; the effects of citywide wage mandates and changes in employment based health coverage in response to rising employee contributions. His past work includes quantifying the public cost of low-wage jobs; how wages in service jobs are affected by outsourcing; shared compensation  and decision making systems; an impact study of proposed Paid Family Leave legislation in California (signed into law in 2002); and an analysis of the pay-or-play health care legislation in California in 2003 (SB2).

Jason Furman is a Visiting Scholar at New York University’s Wagner School and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Previously, Furman served as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy in the Clinton Administration. Furman has been a visiting lecturer at Columbia and Yale Universities. In addition, he served as a Staff Economist at the Council of Economic Advisers, Senior Economic Adviser to the Chief Economist of the World Bank, and Director of Economic Policy for the Kerry-Edwards campaign. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University.

Leo J. Hindery, Jr. is Founder and Managing Partner of InterMedia Partners VII, LLP, which makes mid- to large-size equity investments in media companies. Until October 2004 Mr. Hindery was Chairman of The YES Network, the nation’s premier regional sports network. From December 1999 until January 2001, Mr. Hindery was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GlobalCenter Inc., a major Internet services company. Until November 1999, Mr. Hindery was President and Chief Executive Officer of AT&T Broadband. Mr. Hindery was elected President of TCI and its numerous affiliated companies, then the world’s largest cable television distribution and programming entity, in February 1997. In 1999, Mr. Hindery was named Cable Television Operator of the Year, received from the National Cable Television Association its Distinguished Vanguard Award for Leadership, and was named by Business Week as one of the “Top 25 Executives of the Year.” In 2002, Mr. Hindery was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Minority Media & Telecom Council, received the Oates-Shrum Leadership Award of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, and was named a Founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). In 2003, he co-founded, along with Russian Federation Council Chairman Sergey Mironov, Transatlantic Partners Against AIDS (TPAA). In 2005, he received from the Asia Society and TPAA their Founders Award for his efforts in the international fight against AIDS, especially in Asia. Mr. Hindery graduated from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in 1971, where he earned a Master of Business Administration degree. He is a graduate of Seattle University. Mr. Hindery has received honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from Emerson College and the Rabbinical College of America. He is currently an executive-in-residence at Columbia Business School. Mr. Hindery is also the author of two books: The Biggest Game of All: The Inside Strategies, Tactics, and Temperaments That Make Great Dealmakers Great (Free Press, 2003) and the just-published It Takes a CEO: It’s Time to Lead with Integrity (Free Press, 2005).

Robert Gordon is the Senior Vice President for Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress.  Before joining the Center, Robert was the Domestic Policy Director for the Kerry-Edwards campaign, where he served as the campaign’s designee on the Democratic platform drafting committee. Previously, Robert worked for Senator John Edwards, first as his Judiciary Committee Counsel and Legislative Director in the Senate, then as the Policy Director for his presidential campaign. Prior to his work on Capitol Hill, Robert was a Law Clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and a Skadden Fellow at the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society in New York City, where he represented children in abuse and neglect proceedings. Robert also served in the Clinton White House as an aide to the National Economic Council and the Office of National Service, where he helped craft the legislation creating AmeriCorps. Robert graduated from Harvard College with highest honors and from Yale Law School.  He is also a nonresident Fellow at the Brookings Institution.