Do Walmart Supercenters Improve Food Security?

43 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2018

See all articles by Charles Courtemanche

Charles Courtemanche

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

Art Carden

Brock School of Business, Samford University; Independent Institute

Xilin Zhou

Georgia State University

Murugi Ndirangu

Columbia University

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.

Keywords: Walmart, Wal-Mart, supercenters, big box, food insecurity, hunger

JEL Classification: I12, I14, Q18

Suggested Citation

Courtemanche, Charles and Carden, Art and Zhou, Xilin and Ndirangu, Murugi, Do Walmart Supercenters Improve Food Security?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11589, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3205856 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3205856

Charles Courtemanche (Contact Author)

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

Greensboro, NC 27402-6165
United States

Art Carden

Brock School of Business, Samford University ( email )

800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, AL 35229
United States

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

Independent Institute ( email )

100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621-1428
United States

Xilin Zhou

Georgia State University ( email )

35 Broad Street
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States

Murugi Ndirangu

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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