Revisiting Wal-Martâ€™s Impact on Iowa Small Town Retail: Twenty-Five Years Later
Stone conducted the first study of Wal-Mart stores economic impact in Iowa in 1988. Since then, research on Wal-Martâ€™s impacts has exploded. Recent studies employ sophisticated statistical techniques to more accurately measure the size and direction of effects. Many reach conclusions similar to Stoneâ€™s original work. This paper updates the original Stone study with additional years of data. It draws on recent methodological advances to help account for Wal-Martâ€™s strategic location decisions on estimated retail sales impacts in Iowa. Consistent with previous studies, we find that Wal-Martâ€™s entry into smaller trade centers in Iowa had a big initial impact on host town retail sales, with some categories experiencing large significant increases while others saw declines in sales per capita. Wal-Martâ€™s presence helped to stabilize or even expand the local retail sector of most rural Iowa host communities. To conclude, policy implications for local economic development officials are discussed.
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