Answered By: Peter Z McKay
Last Updated: Oct 29, 2014     Views: 813

  • 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.

Condensed Bibliography

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 Pennsylvania
Michael J. Hicks, 2005
Air Force Institute of Technology and Marshall University

David Neumark, Junfu Zhang, Stephen Ciccarella, 2005

4. Wal-Mart and Local Labor Markets, 1990—2004
Scott Drewianka and Dain Johnson, 2006

5. What Happens When Wal-Mart Comes to Town: An Empirical Analysis of the Discount Retailing Industry
Panle Jia, 2005

6. Has 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

7. The Economic Impact Of Wal-Mart Supercenters On Existing Businesses In Mississippi
Kenneth E. Stone, Georgeanne Artz, Albert Myles, 2002

8. Firm Entry and Wages: Impact of Wal-Mart Growth on Earnings
Throughout the Retail Sector

Arindrajit Dube, T. William Lester, Barry Eidlin, 2007

9. The Locational Impact of Wal-Mart Entrance: A Panel Study of the Retail Trade Sector in West Virginia
Michael J. Hicks, Kristy Wilburn, 1999

10. The Causes and Consequences of Wal-Mart's Growth
Emek Basker, 2007

11.Selling 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

13. Wal-Mart and County-Wide Poverty
Stephan J. Goetz and Hema Swaminathan, 2004

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.


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