Do Walmart Supercenters Improve Food Security?

Charles Courtemanche, Art Carden, Xilin Zhou, Murugi Ndirangu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This paper examines the effect that Walmart Supercenters, which lower food prices and expand food availability, have on food insecurity. Data come from the 2001-2012 Current Population Survey Food Security Supplements matched to Walmart Supercenter entry dates and locations. Using instrumental variables models that leverage Walmart's predictable expansion pattern outward from corporate headquarters, we find that closer proximity to a Walmart Supercenter improves household and child food security, as measured by 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-198
Number of pages22
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).


  • Wal-Mart
  • Walmart
  • big box stores
  • food insecurity
  • hunger
  • supercenters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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