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Wal-Mart innovation and productivity: a viewpoint


  • Richard B. Freeman
  • Alice O. Nakamura
  • Leonard I. Nakamura
  • Marc Prudhomme
  • Amanda Pyman


Technology effects, business process development, and productivity growth are considered in the context of a single company: Wal-Mart. The starting point is the 2001 McKinsey Global Institute report, which finds that over 1995-2000, a quarter of U.S. productivity growth is attributable to the retail industry, and almost a sixth of that is attributable to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is interesting as well because of its rapid growth in Canada. This is now Canada's largest private sector employer. We also consider other evidence relevant to public policy formation concerning Wal-Mart and conclude with a discussion of options for partially filling important data gaps.

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  • Richard B. Freeman & Alice O. Nakamura & Leonard I. Nakamura & Marc Prudhomme & Amanda Pyman, 2011. "Wal-Mart innovation and productivity: a viewpoint," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(2), pages 486-508, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:44:y:2011:i:2:p:486-508

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chen-Yu Lin & David Marshall & John Dawson, 2013. "How Does Perceived Convenience Retailer Innovativeness Create Value for the Customer?," International Journal of Business and Economics, College of Business and College of Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, vol. 12(2), pages 171-179, December.
    2. Amin, Mohammad, 2015. "Competition and labor productivity in India's retail stores," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 57-68.
    3. Hayami, Hitoshi & Nakamura, Masao & Nakamura, Alice O., 2015. "Economic performance and supply chains: The impact of upstream firms׳ waste output on downstream firms׳ performance in Japan," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 47-65.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce


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