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Does Wal-Mart Sell Inferior Goods?

I estimate the aggregate income elasticity of Wal-Mart's and Target's revenues using quarterly data for 1997-2006. I find that Wal-Mart's revenues increase during bad times, whereas Target's revenues decrease, consistent with Wal-Mart selling "inferior goods" in the technical sense of the term. An upper bound on the aggregate income elasticity of demand for Wal-Mart's wares is -0.5.

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File URL: http://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2008/WP0805_basker.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 0805.

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Length: 16 pgs.
Date of creation: 29 Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Economic Inquiry 2011
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:0805
Contact details of provider: Postal: 118 Professional Building, Columbia, MO 65211
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Web page: http://economics.missouri.edu/
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  1. Paul W. Dobson & Michael Waterson, 2005. "Chain-Store Pricing Across Local Markets," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 93-119, 03.
  2. David Neumark & Junfu Zhang & Stephen Ciccarella, 2006. "The Effects of Wal-Mart on Local Labor Markets," Working Papers 060711, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  3. Emek Basker & Michael Noel, 2007. "The Evolving Food Chain: Competitive Effects of Wal-Marts Entry into the Supermarket Industry," Working Papers 0712, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  4. Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K. Kashyap & Peter E. Rossi, 2000. "Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data," NBER Working Papers 7981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Emek Basker & Pham Hoang Van, 2007. "Wal-Mart as Catalyst to U.S.-China Trade," Working Papers 0710, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  6. Emek Basker & Shawn Klimek & Pham Hoang Van, 2008. "Supersize It - The Growth of Retail Chains and the Rise of the "Big Box" Retail Format," Working Papers 0809, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 30 Sep 2010.
  7. Emek Basker, 2007. "When Good Instruments Go Bad," Working Papers 0706, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  8. Daniel Levy & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Robert Venable, 2005. "The Magnitude of Menu Costs: Direct Evidence from Large U.S. Supermarket Chains," Macroeconomics 0505012, EconWPA.
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