The NWIMBY Effect (No Walmart in My Backyard): Big Box Stores and Residential Property Values

Author
Kristina M. Lybecker, Daniel K.N. Johnson, Nicole Gurley, Alex Stiller-Shulman, Stephen Fischer
Content Type
Working Paper
Institution
Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
Abstract
Recent Wal-Mart openings have been accompanied by public demonstrations against the company's presence in the community, asserting (among other things) that their presence is deleterious to residential property values. Consider the following review of the film “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price”: At the start of intrepid muckraker Robert Greenwald's awareness-building documentary, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott addresses an ecstatic crowd of employees to announce yet another year of unparalleled growth for the world's largest store. And though this success also makes Wal-Mart a bigger target of envy and bad feelings, he exhorts the crowd to stay the course: Wal-Mart is vital to families struggling to get by on a budget; to the suppliers who depend on Wal-Mart to sell their goods; and to the “associates” who depend on Wal-Mart for a paycheck. But is it possible that rather than serve these dependents, Wal-Mart is actually destroying them? How can a store that drives down property values and kills off mom-and-pop businesses that can't afford to compete with Wal-Mart's high-volume, low-price strategy be good for a community?
Topic
Economics, Markets
Political Geography
United States