Recent reports state that Wal-Mart is threatening to walk away from at least three planned sites in the District of Columbia after DC lawmakers voted to require the megastore and other large nonunion retailers to provide workers with a mimimum “living wage” of $12.50 an hour.” This could mean a loss of 1,800 jobs to Washington, D.C. — catering to parts of the city where unemployment rates are among the highest in the nation. One of these areas is Skyland where “shop windows are shuttered. Someone has pulled a mattress into the closed post office to sleep on the floor” and “last week, the owner of a beauty supply store closed after 38 years.” According to this report, “the city’s plan has been to let the Skyland die so that its decay can be replaced with sit-down restaurant and a new Wal-Mart store in southeast Washington.” Needless to say, Wal-Mart is one of the few, perhaps even the only, retailer willing to start up a store in this area where there has been an exodus of businesses which simply could not survive, but would Wal-Mart’s presence improve the local economy?
What is the true local economic impact of Wal-Mart? The Local Economic Impact of Wal-Mart by Michael J. Hicks is the first to fill this gap of scholarly economic analysis of the impact of this retail giant.; it also provides significant empirical evidence which highlights important questions. The book has been praised by Eastern Economic Journal for “a valuable addition to the literature” and The Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy recommends the book strongly, stating that “anyone interested in the impact of Wal-Mart on local economies will benefit from reading The Local Economic Impact of Wal-Mart, regardless of their current feelings toward the retailer.”
Given that (as of May 31, 2013; statistics from Wal-Mart’s website) there are 4,049 Wal-Mart stores and 620 Sam’s Clubs blanketing the United States with these stores employing 1.3 million people, this is a socioeconomic issue that affects every American, whether directly or indirectly. This book is therefore a critical read in understanding how your local community is impacted by the presence of a Wal-Mart.
Professors, if you would like to use this for your class, refer your librarian to the Cambria Press Desk Copy Plus Program that helps you get free versions for your students and a free hardcover for yourself!
Check out this other book coauthored by Dr. Hicks–Local Government Consolidation in the United States
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