30 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2008
Date Written: June 10, 2008
This essay contributes to the debate about the alleged spillover effects associated with Wal-Mart's growth. Combining county-level data on Wal-Mart entry and location from 1985 through 1998 with individual-level data on leisure activities, we estimate a positive relationship between Wal-Mart penetration and participation in activities involving inputs that can be bought at Wal-Mart. The relationship between Wal-Mart penetration and activities that do not involve inputs that can be bought at Wal-Mart is negative in most cases, but may be positive or zero for "cultural" activities such as attending classical music concerts and visiting art galleries. The evidence is consistent with the thesis that deeper Wal-Mart penetration expands consumption possibilities.
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