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A new Global Insight study, The Economic Impact of Wal-Mart, released on November 4, 2005, analyses the national and region impact of the nation's largest retailer on the U.S. economy. The study was structured to determine the net economic impact of Wal-Mart at the national, city, and county level and includes:

  • A national level analysis to estimate the overall impact of Wal-Mart as measured by commonly used measures of national economic performance.
  • A metropolitan area impact analysis to characterize how the impact could be measured in a specific Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), Dallas-Fort Worth, and to serve as an example for how Wal-Mart's economic impact should be estimated in other cities.
  • A county level impact analysis to look at the specific dynamics associated with the impact of Wal-Mart's entry and expansion at the local (county) level.

As part of the study process, Global Insight reviewed a wide range of previous studies that indicated that the efficiencies that Wal-Mart has fostered in the retail sector have led to lower prices for the U.S. consumer. These results were supported by statistical analysis which found that the expansion of Wal-Mart over the 1985 to 2004 period can be associated with a cumulative decline of 9.1% in food-at-home prices, a 4.2% decline in commodities (goods) prices, and a 3.1% decline in overall consumer prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index-All Items, which includes both goods and services.

The main driver of this impact was a 0.75% improvement in the overall efficiency of the economy. Increased capital intensity and lower import prices were secondary drivers. The 3.1% decline in the price level was partially offset by a 2.2% decline in nominal wages, so that the net effect was to increase real disposable income by 0.9% by 2004.

In addition to conducting its own study, Global Insight issued a call for research papers from the academic and business community. An independent Global Insight Review Committee selected studies from these submissions to be presented at the Wal-Mart sponsored conference in Washington, D.C. on November 4, 2005. Selection of studies was not dependent upon either positive or negative findings but on academic rigor, methodology, and the overall quality of analysis.

Study Details For more information contact:
Chris Holling
Executive Managing Director, Advisory Services
Global Insight, Inc.
Tele: 416.682.7303

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