Does Wal-Mart Reduce Social Capital?

50 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2007 Last revised: 14 Oct 2007

Art Carden

Brock School of Business, Samford University

Charles Courtemanche

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Greensboro - Department of Economics

Jeremy Meiners

Washington University in St. Louis - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 10, 2007

Abstract

Social capital has attracted increasing attention in recent years. We use county-level and individual survey data to study how Wal-Mart affects social capital. Estimates using several proxies for social capital — such as club membership, religious activity, time with friends, and other measures — do not support the thesis that "Wal-Mart destroys communities" by reducing social capital. We measure exposure to Wal-Mart two ways: Wal-Marts per 10,000 residents and Wal-Marts per 10,000 residents aggregated over years since 1979 to capture a more cumulative "Wal-Mart Effect." We find that coefficients on Wal-Mart's presence are statistically insignificant in most specifications.

Keywords: social capital, Wal-Mart, Walmart, social

JEL Classification: A10, A13, D00, Z1

Suggested Citation

Carden, Art and Courtemanche, Charles and Meiners, Jeremy, Does Wal-Mart Reduce Social Capital? (October 10, 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=995538 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.995538

Art Carden (Contact Author)

Brock School of Business, Samford University ( email )

800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, AL 35229
United States

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

Charles Courtemanche

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Greensboro - Department of Economics ( email )

Greensboro, NC 27402-6165
United States

Jeremy Meiners

Washington University in St. Louis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

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