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- Google Scholar Search: Wal-Mart and Local Research Since 2008
This link executes a search in Google Scholar for research mentioning Wal-Mart and the word "local" published since 2008.
- The Wal-Mart Effect: Poison or Antidote for Local Communities
By Terry J. Fitzgerald and Ronald A. Wirtz
Fedgazette January 2008
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
- The Research Literature in Wal-Mart: Some Frown, Some Smiley Faces
by Ronald A. Wirtz
Fedgazette January 2008, pp. 1-5
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Someone unfamiliar with the Wal-Mart controversy might reasonably assume that very obvious macro effects sprout to life when Wal-Mart opens its doors in town. How else could one rationalize the ferocity, the righteousness of the opinion that surrounds the firm?
In fact, it's the exact opposite; much of the debate and controversy likely get their fervor from the fact that nobody knows—for sure—who's right about Wal-Mart's effect on local communities.
Despite a considerable amount of research, a definitive consensus about Wal-Mart's effect on local communities is hard to declare. And it's not for lack of effort. Arguably, no firm in the history of commerce has been more scrutinized. Business schools routinely analyze successful firms to discover their secrets of success. But Wal-Mart is one of the few businesses routinely, even energetically, put under the microscope to look for its dark side, to determine whether its genes are compatible with a community's DNA.
That's not to say there are no conclusions whatsoever from the research. In fact, there are conclusions both damning and supportive of Wal-Mart. This is the likely source of the debate's din: When there is doubt or disagreement, talk louder.
Similar to the results reached by this fedgazette analysis, empirical research on the economic effects of Wal-Mart tend to be modest in both directions. The balance of academic research probably favors Wal-Mart on the whole, but not by a lot, and not in all measures.
What follows is a summary of some of the major and recent work done on the local economic effects of Wal-Mart on measures similarly used in this fedgazette analysis—jobs, firms, wages and poverty. One additional measure—beyond the scope of our study but very relevant to the debate over local effects—is also discussed here: consumer welfare.
1. Job Creation or
Destruction? Labor-Market Effects of Wal-Mart Expansion
Emek Basker, University of Missouri, January 2004
2. What Do Quarterly
Workforce Dynamics Tell Us About Wal-Mart? Evidence from New Stores in
Michael J. Hicks, 2005
Air Force Institute of Technology and Marshall University
Wal-Mart Buried Mom and Pop?: The Impact of Wal-Mart on Self Employment and
Small Establishments in the United States
Russell S. Sobel, Andrea M. Dean
Economic Impact Of Wal-Mart Supercenters On Existing Businesses In
Kenneth E. Stone, Georgeanne Artz, Albert Myles, 2002
Entry and Wages: Impact of Wal-Mart Growth on Earnings
Throughout the Retail Sector
Arindrajit Dube, T. William Lester, Barry Eidlin, 2007
Locational Impact of Wal-Mart Entrance: A Panel Study of the Retail Trade Sector
in West Virginia
Michael J. Hicks, Kristy Wilburn, 1999
a Cheaper Mousetrap: Wal-Mart's Effect on Retail Prices
Emek Basker, 2005
The Evolving Food Chain: Competitive Effects of Wal-Mart's Entry Into The Supermarket Industry
Michael Noel, Emek Basker, 2007
12. Consumer Benefits From Increased
Competition in Shopping Outlets: Measuring the Effect of Wal-Mart
Jerry Hausman, Ephraim Leibtag, 2005
See also related fedgazette article: Thomas J. Holmes on Wal-Mart's location strategy, March 2006. Holmes describes Wal-Mart's location strategy and possible implications for the Ninth District.