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Does Wal-Mart Cause an Increase in Anti-Poverty Program Expenditures?

  • Michael J. Hicks

    (Air Force Institute of Technology)

As the largest private sector employer in the United States, Wal-Mart experiences considerable scrutiny over its influence on a number of regional fiscal and economic issues. These include its impact on the local retail market structure, land use patterns, local fiscal conditions and general business practices. Criticism of Wal-Mart’s business practices include, but are not limited to its anti-unionization efforts, sale of imported goods, wage and compensation structure and the use of Federal and state anti-poverty transfers by its employees. In this paper I evaluate the concerns regarding the role of Wal-Mart in changing expenditures on Federal and state anti-poverty transfers in the United States. Using a panel of the conterminous 48 states, correcting for time and spatial autocorrelation and local government mix and policy changes, I find the number of Wal-Marts, and their employment share in the retail sector have no impact on Foodstamps expenditures. Expenditures on AFDC/TANF are unaffected by Wal-Mart in the test using the number of stores to represent Wal-Mart’s presence. In the retail employment share, the impact is negative, with a 1 percent increase in Wal-Mart’s share reduced AFDC/TANF expenditures by 3.3 percent. I find that Wal-Mart does increase Medicaid expenditures by roughly $898 per worker, which is consistent with other studies of the Medicaid costs per low wage worker across the United States.

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File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/pe/papers/0511/0511015.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Public Economics with number 0511015.

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Date of creation: 21 Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0511015
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  1. Michael J. Hicks & Kristy Wilburn, 2005. "The Locational Impact of Wal-Mart Entrance: A Panel Study of the Retail Trade Sector in West Virginia," Urban/Regional 0511011, EconWPA.
  2. Hicks, Michael J. & Wilburn, Kristy L., 2001. "The Regional Impact of Wal-Mart Entrance: A Panel Study of the Retail Trade Sector in West Virginia," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 31(3), pages 305-313, Winter.
  3. Robert I. Lerman & Kelly S. Mikelson, 2004. "Examining the Relationship between the EITC and Food Stamp Program Participation Among Households with Children," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 190, Econometric Society.
  4. Emek Basker, 2002. "Job Creation or Destruction? Labor-Market Effects of Wal-Mart Expansion," Working Papers 0215, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised Jan 2004.
  5. Barnes, Nora Ganim & Connell, Allison & Hermenegildo, Lisa & Mattson, Lucinda, 1996. "Regional differences in the economic impact of Wal-Mart," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 21-25.
  6. Konishi, Hideo, 2005. "Concentration of competing retail stores," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 488-512, November.
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