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Do Walmart Supercenters Improve Food Security?

Author

Listed:
  • Courtemanche, Charles

    (University of Kentucky)

  • Carden, Art

    (Samford University)

  • Zhou, Xilin

    (Georgia State University)

  • Ndirangu, Murugi

    (Columbia Global Centers)

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of Walmart Supercenters, which lower food prices and expand food availability, on household and child food insecurity. Our food insecurity-related outcomes come from the 2001-2012 waves of the December Current Population Study Food Security Supplement. Using narrow geographic identifiers available in the restricted version of these data, we compute the distance between each household's census tract of residence and the nearest Walmart Supercenter. We estimate instrumental variables models that leverage the predictable geographic expansion patterns of Walmart Supercenters outward from Walmart's corporate headquarters. Results suggest that closer proximity to a Walmart Supercenter improves the food security of households and children, as measured by number of affirmative responses to a food insecurity questionnaire and an indicator for food insecurity. The effects are largest among low-income households and children, but are also sizeable for middle-income children.

Suggested Citation

  • Courtemanche, Charles & Carden, Art & Zhou, Xilin & Ndirangu, Murugi, 2018. "Do Walmart Supercenters Improve Food Security?," IZA Discussion Papers 11589, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11589
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    Cited by:

    1. Parke Wilde & Mehreen Ismail & Michele Ver Ploeg, 2021. "The Quality of the Food Retail Environment When Consumers May Be Mobile," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 43(2), pages 701-715, June.
    2. Metin Çakır & Qingxiao Li & Xiaoli Yang, 2021. "COVID‐19 and fresh produce markets in the United States and China," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 43(1), pages 341-354, March.
    3. Craig Gundersen & Monica Hake & Adam Dewey & Emily Engelhard, 2021. "Food Insecurity during COVID‐19," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 43(1), pages 153-161, March.
    4. Craig Gundersen, 2019. "The Right to Food in the United States: The Role of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 101(5), pages 1328-1336, October.
    5. Metin Çakır & Joseph V. Balagtas & Abigail M. Okrent & Mariana Urbina‐Ramirez, 2021. "Effects of Package Size on Household Food Purchases," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 43(2), pages 781-801, June.
    6. Fitzpatrick, Katie & Greenhalgh-Stanley, Nadia & Ver Ploeg, Michele, 2019. "Food deserts and diet-related health outcomes of the elderly," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 1-1.
    7. Lauren Chenarides & Alessandro Bonanno & Anne Palmer, 2021. "If You Build Them… Will it Matter? Food Stores' Presence and Perceived Barriers to Purchasing Healthy Foods in the Northeastern U.S," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 43(3), pages 1076-1100, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Walmart; Wal-Mart; supercenters; big box; food insecurity; hunger;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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