WalMart and Local Economic Development: A Survey

Alessandro Bonanno, Stephan J. Goetz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This article reviews the literature that evaluates WalMart's impacts on local economies. The authors first describe the methods used to account for potential reverse causality of WalMart's store location decisions, and then they discuss the literature assessing the company's effect on three aspects of community life: (a) retail (and nonretail) businesses, across large- and small-sized stores and in different business environments; (b) retail workers, wages, and types of jobs; and (c) producer and consumer welfare through the company's price-decreasing effect and other potential indirect effects. Last, articles focusing on a broad spectrum of local conditions that could be affected by the company, including poverty rates, social capital, food insecurity, policy effectiveness, and obesity are reviewed. For each dimension, evidence is found of both positive and negative effects, suggesting that we are still far from truly understanding the net effect of WalMart on local economies, let alone the overall consequences in the long run.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-297
Number of pages13
JournalEconomic Development Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Urban Studies


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