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Business Practices of Wal-Mart in Northwest Indiana


  • Rao, Surekha
  • O'Dell, CYnthia


Wal-Mart symbolizes the strength of economic and commercial activity in any region. Wal-Mart has built a business empire on its low-cost model. Customers love Wal-Mart stores for its low prices. At the same time, Wal-Mart is under a barrage of criticism for labor practices and indirect burdens on our social and welfare programs. Some of the business practices of Wal-Mart like the employees’ wage-benefits package, and the underemployment of women and minorities are the subject of ongoing debate at the national level. Our main objective is to review this issue within a regional context. We examined whether what is being alleged about the business practices of Wal-Mart at the national level is mirrored at the regional level, like northwest Indiana. The findings presented are from a survey designed to analyze the impact of the business practices of Wal-Mart on customers and employees. Our results concur with earlier national studies that there are hidden costs for the community which shops and supports Wal-Mart and that a large number of employees are older, work part time, earn below the regional average income, and depend on state welfare programs. We found gender differences in employment, earnings, and career advancement opportunities. The price of low cost goods may be too high for the region economy and it will likely affect women more than men.

Suggested Citation

  • Rao, Surekha & O'Dell, CYnthia, 2007. "Business Practices of Wal-Mart in Northwest Indiana," MPRA Paper 6628, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 25 Sep 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:6628

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jerry Hausman & Ephraim Leibtag, 2007. "Consumer benefits from increased competition in shopping outlets: Measuring the effect of Wal-Mart," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(7), pages 1157-1177.
    2. Jerry Hausman & Ephraim Leibtag, 2009. "CPI Bias from Supercenters: Does the BLS Know that Wal-Mart Exists?," NBER Chapters,in: Price Index Concepts and Measurement, pages 203-231 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item


    discrimination; gender; cost; benefits;

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General
    • M21 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - Business Economics

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