Fast Food Franchises and Low-Wage Work

Awarded Scholars:
Wilma B. Liebman, Cornell University
Project Date:
Jan 2016
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Future of Work

Rosemary Batt, Wilma Liebman, and a group of multi-disciplinary collaborators will compare job quality, pay, and labor law compliance between franchised fast food operations and company-owned establishments. They will explore the relationships between the franchise business model, labor and employment laws, and differences in wages and working conditions among fast food outlet employees. They will investigate whether the franchise model itself contributes to the growth of low-wage work and inequality, and whether such negative effects can be curtailed through regulatory policy reform.

Batt and Liebman will use a mixed-methods approach that combines econometric analyses with surveys and qualitative case studies, including conducting a national, establishment-level survey of franchisee- and franchisor-owned restaurants in order to analyze differences across brands, geographic areas and ownership type.


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


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