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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: https://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
Phone: (573) 882-0063
Fax: (573) 882-2697
Web page: http://economics.missouri.edu/

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  1. Emek Basker, 2007. "When Good Instruments Go Bad," Working Papers 0706, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  2. Emek Basker & Michael Noel, 2007. "The Evolving Food Chain: Competitive Effects of Wal-Mart's Entry into the Supermarket Industry," Working Papers 0712, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  3. David Neumark & Junfu Zhang & Stephen Ciccarella, 2005. "The Effects of Wal-Mart on Local Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 11782, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K. Kashyap & Peter E. Rossi, 2003. "Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 15-37, March.
  5. 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 08-23r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Sep 2011.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Emek Basker & Pham Hoang Van, 2007. "Wal-Mart as Catalyst to U.S.-China Trade," Working Papers 0710, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
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