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Does Planning Regulation Protect Independent Retailers?


  • Raffaella Sadun


Regulations aimed at curbing the entry of large retail stores have been introduced in many countries to protect independent retailers. Analyzing a planning reform launched in the United Kingdom in the 1990s, I show that independent retailers were actually harmed by the creation of entry barriers against large stores. Instead of simply reducing the number of new large stores entering a market, the entry barriers created the incentive for large retail chains to invest in smaller and more centrally located formats, which competed more directly with independents and accelerated their decline. Overall, these findings suggest that restricting the entry of large stores does not necessarily lead to a world with fewer stores, but one with different stores, with uncertain competitive effects on independent retailers.

Suggested Citation

  • Raffaella Sadun, 2014. "Does Planning Regulation Protect Independent Retailers?," NBER Working Papers 19797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19797
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    Cited by:

    1. Maican, Florin & Orth, Matilda, 2008. "Productivity Dynamics and the Role of “Big-Box” Entrants in Retailing," Working Papers in Economics 328, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    2. Fernando Borraz & Juan Dubra & Daniel Ferrés & Leandro Zipitría, 2014. "Supermarket Entry and the Survival of Small Stores," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 44(1), pages 73-93, February.
    3. Fernando Borraz & Juan Dubra & Daniel Ferrés & Leandro Zipitría, 2013. "Supermarket Entry and The Survival of Small Stores," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1303, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
    4. Jonathan Haskel & Raffaella Sadun, 2012. "Regulation and UK Retailing Productivity: Evidence from Microdata," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 79(315), pages 425-448, July.
    5. Nathan, Max & Overman, Henry G., 2011. "What we know (and don't know) about the links between planning and economic performance," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 59232, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Fabiano Schivardi & Eliana Viviano, 2011. "Entry Barriers in Retail Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 145-170, March.
    7. Paul C. Cheshire & Christian A. L. Hilber & Ioannis Kaplanis, 2015. "Land use regulation and productivity—land matters: evidence from a UK supermarket chain," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 43-73.
    8. Susanne Prantl, 2012. "The impact of firm entry regulation on long-living entrants," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 61-76, July.
    9. Davud Rostam-Afschar, 2014. "Entry regulation and entrepreneurship: a natural experiment in German craftsmanship," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 1067-1101, November.
    10. Maican, Florin & Orth, Matilda, 2015. "A dynamic analysis of entry regulations and productivity in retail trade," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 67-80.
    11. Susanne Prantl & Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2009. "How does entry regulation influence entry into self-employment and occupational mobility?," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 17(4), pages 769-802, October.
    12. Corry, Dan & Valero, Anna & Van Reenen, John, 2011. "UK economic performance since 1997: growth, productivity and jobs," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 47521, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    13. Christian A. L. Hilber & Wouter Vermeulen, 2016. "The Impact of Supply Constraints on House Prices in England," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(591), pages 358-405, March.
    14. Horst Raff & Nicolas Schmitt, 2012. "Imports and the structure of retail markets," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1431-1455, November.
    15. Paul C. Cheshire & Christian A. L. Hilber & Ioannis Kaplanis, 2012. "Evidence from a UK supermarket chain," Working Papers 2012/15, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    16. Eliana Viviano & Luciana Aimone Gigio & Emanuela Ciapanna & Daniele Coin & Fabrizio Colonna & Federica Lagna & Raffaele Santioni, 2012. "The retail trade sector and the food industry in Italy," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 119, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    17. Maria Sanchez Vidal, 2016. "Small shops for sale! The effects of big-box openings on grocery stores," Working Papers 2016/12, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    18. Bilotkach, Volodymyr & Braakmann, Nils & Gonzalo-Almorox, Eduardo & Wildman, John, 2017. "The effect of house prices on the long-term care market: Evidence from England," MPRA Paper 81987, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    JEL classification:

    • K2 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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