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Transportation and infrastructure, retail clustering, and local public finance: evidence from Wal-Mart's expansion

  • Michael J. Hicks

The author examines the role highway infrastructure and local property tax rate variability play in retail agglomeration in Indiana from 1988 through 2003. To account for data errors and the potential endogeneity of taxes and infrastructure on retail agglomeration, he introduces a unique identification strategy that exploits the entrance timing and location of Wal-Mart stores in Indiana. Using a time-series cross-sectional model of Indiana’s 92 counties from 1988 through 2003, he estimates the impact highway infrastructure, property taxes, and big-box competition have in creating regional agglomerations. Among two separate specifications and a full and rural-only set of the data, the author finds considerable agreement in the results. In the full sample, he finds no relationship between property tax rates or highway infrastructure and retail agglomeration. Within the non-metropolitan statistical area (MSA) counties, this relationship is very modest, though it possesses considerable statistical certainty. Highway impacts within the non-MSA counties are significant and positively related to retail agglomeration, with the presence of highways explaining about 10 percent of total agglomeration variability. (JEL R11, R53)

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its journal Regional Economic Development.

Volume (Year): (2006)
Issue (Month): Oct ()
Pages: 100-114

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrd:y:2006:i:oct:p:100-114:n:v.2no.2
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