Do Walmart Supercenters Improve Food Security?

42 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2018 Last revised: 16 Feb 2022

See all articles by Charles Courtemanche

Charles Courtemanche

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

Art Carden

Brock School of Business, Samford University

Murugi Ndirangu

Columbia University

Xilin Zhou

Georgia State University

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of Walmart Supercenters, which lower food prices and expand food availability, on household and child food insecurity. Our food insecurity-related outcomes come from the 2001-2012 waves of the December Current Population Study Food Security Supplement. Using narrow geographic identifiers available in the restricted version of these data, we compute the distance between each household’s census tract of residence and the nearest Walmart Supercenter. We estimate instrumental variables models that leverage the predictable geographic expansion patterns of Walmart Supercenters outward from Walmart’s corporate headquarters. Results suggest that closer proximity to a Walmart Supercenter improves the food security of households and children, as measured by number of affirmative responses to a food insecurity questionnaire and an indicator for food insecurity. The effects are largest among low-income households and children, but are also sizeable for middle-income children.

Suggested Citation

Courtemanche, Charles and Carden, Art and Ndirangu, Murugi and Zhou, Xilin, Do Walmart Supercenters Improve Food Security? (June 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24750, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3202054

Charles Courtemanche (Contact Author)

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies ( email )

P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States
404-413-0082 (Phone)

Art Carden

Brock School of Business, Samford University ( email )

800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, AL 35229
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.artcarden.com

Murugi Ndirangu

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Xilin Zhou

Georgia State University ( email )

35 Broad Street
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States

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