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Does Planning Regulation Protect Independent Retailers?

  • Raffaella Sadun

Entry regulations against big-box retailers have been introduced in many countries to protect smaller independent stores. Using a new dataset from the UK, I show that in fact these entry regulations have been associated with greater employment declines in independent stores they were meant to protect. The reason is that when large retail chains are prevented from entering a new area with a big-box store, they typically enter instead using a smaller in-town store format. These smaller format stores compete more directly with independent stores. To causally identify this impact I use the changing nature of local political control in the UK from 1993 to 2003. Since local politicians directly control planning regulation in the UK, and political parties have very different views on the ideal amount of planning control, this provides exogenous variation in the ease of entry for big-box retailers. I estimate that 15% of the employment decline experienced by independent retailers between 1998 and 2004 can be attributed to the perverse effect of planning regulation.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0888.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0888
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. 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.
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  12. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & C. J. Krizan, 2006. "Market Selection, Reallocation, and Restructuring in the U.S. Retail Trade Sector in the 1990s," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 748-758, November.
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  15. Oecd, 2008. "Land Use Restrictions as Barriers to Entry," OECD Journal: Competition Law and Policy, OECD Publishing, vol. 10(2), pages 7-73.
  16. Cheshire, Paul & Hilber, Christian A. L., 2007. "Office Space Supply Restrictions in Britain: The Political Economy of Market Revenge," MPRA Paper 5435, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  18. Glaeser, Edward L & Gyourko, Joseph & Saks, Raven, 2005. "Why Is Manhattan So Expensive? Regulation and the Rise in Housing Prices," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 331-69, October.
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  22. Griffith, Rachel & Harmgart, Heike, 2008. "Supermarkets and Planning Regulation," CEPR Discussion Papers 6713, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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