IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The Causes and Consequences of Wal-Mart's Growth

  • Emek Basker

Wal-Mart is the largest retailer and the largest private employer in the United States. The competitive pressures created by large retailers have long been controversial, and Wal-Mart's growth has raised concerns about its economic impact on workers, communities, and competitors. This paper aims to dispel some of the myths regarding Wal-Mart and to replace them with a systematic accounting of what is known about Wal-Mart's impact on the U.S. and global economy. The paper begins by exploring the source of Wal-Mart's competitive advantage. It then examines some of the economic effects of Wal-Mart: how Wal-Mart stores affect local labor markets, consumer prices, product selection, local and global competitors, and suppliers. I then turn to Wal-Mart's interaction with public policy issues in matters of global trade as well as state and local legislation on wages, benefits, zoning, and subsidies.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 21 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 177-198

in new window

Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:21:y:2007:i:3:p:177-198
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.21.3.177
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Jerry Hausman & Ephraim Leibtag, 2005. "Consumer Benefits from Increased Competition in Shopping Outlets: Measuring the Effect of Wal-Mart," NBER Working Papers 11809, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ting Zhu & Vishal Singh & Anthony J. Dukes, 2005. "Local Competition and Impact of Entry by a Dominant Retailer," CIE Discussion Papers 2005-05, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  3. Marianne Bertrand & Francis Kramarz, 2001. "Does Entry Regulation Hinder Job Creation ? Evidence from the French Retail Industry," Working Papers 2001-12, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  4. Emek Basker, 2003. "Job Creation or Destruction? Labor-Market Effects of Wal-Mart Expansion," Labor and Demography 0303002, EconWPA, revised 11 Mar 2005.
  5. 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.
  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 0809, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 30 Sep 2010.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Thomas W. Ross, 1983. "Winners and Losers under the Robinson-Patman Act," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 30, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  10. Emek Basker, 2007. "When Good Instruments Go Bad," Working Papers 0706, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  11. Ronald S. Jarmin & Shawn D. Klimek & Javier Miranda, 2009. "The Role of Retail Chains: National, Regional and Industry Results," NBER Chapters, in: Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data, pages 237-262 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Thomas J. Holmes, 1999. "Bar codes lead to frequent deliveries and superstores," Staff Report 261, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. Jerry Hausman & Ephraim Leibtag, 2004. "CPI Bias from Supercenters: Does the BLS Know that Wal-Mart Exists?," NBER Working Papers 10712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Davis, Elizabeth E. & Freedman, Matthew & Lane, Julia & McCall, Brian P. & Nestoriak, Nicole & Park, Timothy A., 2005. "Product Market Competition and Human Resource Practices: An Analysis of the Retail Food Sector," Working Papers 14349, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.
  15. Viviano, Eliana, 2008. "Entry regulations and labour market outcomes: Evidence from the Italian retail trade sector," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1200-1222, December.
  16. Pashigian, B Peter & Gould, Eric D, 1998. "Internalizing Externalities: The Pricing of Space in Shopping Malls," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 115-42, April.
  17. Michael J. Hicks, 2005. "Does Wal-Mart Cause an Increase in Anti-Poverty Program Expenditures?," Public Economics 0511015, EconWPA.
  18. Beata Smarzynska Javorcik & Wolfgang Keller & James R. Tybout, 2006. "Openness and Industrial Responses in a Wal-Mart World: A Case Study of Mexican Soaps, Detergents and Surfactant Producers," NBER Working Papers 12457, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Eric D. Gould & B. Peter Pashigian & Canice J. Prendergast, 2005. "Contracts, Externalities, and Incentives in Shopping Malls," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 411-422, August.
  20. Mark Doms & Ron Jarmin & Shawn Klimek, 2004. "Information technology investment and firm performance in US retail trade," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(7), pages 595-613.
  21. Emek Basker & Van Pham Hoang, 2011. "Wal-Mart as Catalyst to U.S.-China Trade," Working Papers 01, Development and Policies Research Center (DEPOCEN), Vietnam.
  22. Chris Forman & Anindya Ghose & Avi Goldfarb, 2006. "Geography and Electronic Commerce: Measuring Convenience, Selection, and Price," Working Papers 06-15, NET Institute, revised Sep 2006.
  23. Chen, Zhiqi, 2003. " Dominant Retailers and the Countervailing-Power Hypothesis," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(4), pages 612-25, Winter.
  24. Michael J. Hicks, 2005. "The Impact of Wal-Mart on Local Fiscal Health: Evidence from a Panel of Ohio Counties," Public Economics 0511016, EconWPA.
  25. Roger R. Betancourt, 2004. "The Economics of Retailing and Distribution," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3511.
  26. Javier Miranda & Shawn Klimek & Ron Jarmin, 2004. "Firm Entry and Exit in the U.S. Retail Sector, 1977-1997," Working Papers 04-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:21:y:2007:i:3:p:177-198. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

or (Michael P. Albert)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.