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Supplier Responses to Wal-Mart's Invasion of Mexico

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  • Leonardo Iacovone
  • Beata Smarzynska Javorcik
  • Wolfgang Keller
  • James R. Tybout

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of Wal-Mart's entry into Mexico on Mexican manufacturers of consumer goods. Guided by firm interviews that suggested substantial heterogeneity across firms in how they responded to Wal-Mart's entry, we develop a dynamic industry model in which firms decide whether to sell their products through Walmex (short for Wal-Mart de Mexico), or use traditional retailers. Walmex provides access to a larger market, but it puts continuous pressure on its suppliers to improve their product's appeal, and it forces them to accept relatively low prices relative to product appeal. Simulations of the model show that the arrival of Walmex separates potential suppliers into two groups. Those with relatively high-appeal products choose Walmex as their retailer, whereas those with lower appeal products do not. For the industry as a whole, the model predicts that the associated market share reallocations, adjustments in innovative effort, and exit patterns increase productivity and the rate of innovation. These predictions accord well with the results from our firm interviews. The model's predictions are also supported by establishment-level panel data that characterize Mexican producers' domestic sales, investments, and productivity gains in regions with differing levels of Walmex presence during the years 1994 to 2002.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17204.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17204

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  1. Panle Jia, 2008. "What Happens When Wal-Mart Comes to Town: An Empirical Analysis of the Discount Retailing Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1263-1316, November.
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  3. Emek Basker, 2006. "The Causes and Consequences of Wal-Mart's Growth," Working Papers 0611, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
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  18. Cédric Durand, 2007. "Externalities from foreign direct investment in the Mexican retailing sector," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(3), pages 393-411, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Li, Yue & Smarzynska Javorcik, Beata, 2008. "Do the Biggest Aisles Serve a Brighter Future? Global Retail Chains and Their Implications for Romania," CEPR Discussion Papers 6906, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Cheptea, Angela & Emlinger, Charlotte & Latouche, Karine, 2012. "Multinational Retailers and Home Country Exports," 2012: New Rules of Trade?, December 2012, San Diego, California 142777, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
  3. Emily Blanchard & Tatyana Chesnokova & Gerald Willmann, 2013. "Private Labels and International Trade: Trading Variety for Volume," School of Economics Working Papers 2013-01, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  4. Blyde, Juan & Santamaria, Julieth, 2013. "Sharpen your skills: the impact of training employees on backward linkages," MPRA Paper 53367, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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