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Does Wal-Mart Sell Inferior Goods?

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I estimate the aggregate income elasticity of Wal-Mart's and Target's revenues using quarterly data for 1997-2006. I find that Wal-Mart's revenues increase during bad times, whereas Target's revenues decrease, consistent with Wal-Mart selling "inferior goods" in the technical sense of the term. An upper bound on the aggregate income elasticity of demand for Wal-Mart's wares is -0.5.

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File URL: http://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2008/WP0805_basker.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 0805.

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Length: 16 pgs.
Date of creation: 29 Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:0805

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Keywords: Retail; Wal-Mart; Target; Inferior Goods;

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  1. David Neumark & Junfu Zhang & Stephen Ciccarella, 2005. "The Effects of Wal-Mart on Local Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 11782, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Emek Basker, 2007. "When Good Instruments Go Bad," Working Papers, Department of Economics, University of Missouri 0706, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  3. Noel, Michael & Basker, Emek, 2007. "The Evolving Food Chain: Competitive Effects of Wal-Mart's Entry Into The Supermarket Industry," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt4nq8d4sm, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  4. Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K. Kashyap & Peter E. Rossi, 2000. "Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data," NBER Working Papers 7981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 791-825, August.
  6. Emek Basker & Shawn Klimek & Pham Hoang Van, 2008. "Supersize It: The Growth of Retail Chains and the Rise of the "Big Box" Retail Format," Working Papers 08-23r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Sep 2011.
  7. Emek Basker & Pham Hoang Van, 2007. "Wal-Mart as Catalyst to U.S.-China Trade," Working Papers, Department of Economics, University of Missouri 0710, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  8. Paul W. Dobson & Michael Waterson, 2005. "Chain-Store Pricing Across Local Markets," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 93-119, 03.
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