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The Evolving Food Chain: Competitive Effects of Wal-Marts Entry into the Supermarket Industry

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Abstract

We analyze the effect of Wal-Marts entry into the grocery market using a unique store-level price panel data set. We use OLS and two IV specifications to estimate the effect of Wal-Marts entry on competitors prices of 24 grocery items across several categories. Wal-Marts price advantage over competitors for these products averages approximately 10%. On average, competitors response to Wal-Marts entry is a price reduction of 11.2%, mostly due to smaller-scale competitors: the response of the big three supermarket chains (Albertsons, Safeway, and Kroger) is less than half that size. We confirm our results using a falsification exercises, in which we test for Wal-Marts effect on prices of services that it does not provide, such as movie tickets and dry cleaning services.

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File URL: http://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2007/WP0712_basker.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 0712.

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Length: 32 pgs.
Date of creation: 15 Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in Journal of Economics and Management Strategy
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:0712

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Keywords: Wal-Mart; Retail Prices; Supermarkets; Price Competition;

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  1. Frankel, David M. & Gould, Eric D., 2001. "The Retail Price of Inequality," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 219-239, March.
  2. Parsley, David C & Wei, Shang-Jin, 1996. "Convergence to the Law of One Price without Trade Barriers or Currency Fluctuations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1211-36, November.
  3. Jerry Hausman & Ephraim Leibtag, 2009. "CPI Bias from Supercenters: Does the BLS Know that Wal-Mart Exists?," NBER Chapters, in: Price Index Concepts and Measurement, pages 203-231 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  5. Emek Basker, 2002. "Job Creation or Destruction? Labor-Market Effects of Wal-Mart Expansion," Working Papers 0215, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 14 Jan 2004.
  6. Andrew W. Franklin, 2001. "The impact of Wal-Mart supercenters on supermarket concentration in U.S. metropolitan areas," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(1), pages 105-114.
  7. Thomas J. Holmes, 2006. "The Diffusion of Wal-Mart and Economies of Density," 2006 Meeting Papers 15, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Levy, Daniel, et al, 1997. "The Magnitude of Menu Costs: Direct Evidence from Large U.S. Supermarket Chains," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 791-825, August.
  9. Daniel Aaronson, 2001. "Price Pass-Through And The Minimum Wage," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 158-169, February.
  10. Ellickson, Paul, 2005. "Supermarkets as a Natural Oligopoly," Working Papers 05-04, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  11. Vishal P. Singh & Karsten T. Hansen & Robert C. Blattberg, 2006. "Market Entry and Consumer Behavior: An Investigation of a Wal-Mart Supercenter," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(5), pages 457-476, September.
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