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Revised April 2011 Report!
Living Wage Policies and Big-Box Retail: How a Higher Wage Standard Would Impact Walmart Workers and Shoppers
April 2011, by Ken Jacobs, Dave Graham-Squire and Stephanie Luce
This study uses the most recent data available to update the 2007 report on the impact to workers and shoppers if Walmart increased its minimum wage. It finds that a $12 per hour minimum wage would provide substantial benefits to Walmart workers in low-income families, while the costs would be dispersed in small amounts among many consumers across the income spectrum.
Living Wage Policies and Wal-Mart: How a Higher Wage Standard Would Impact Wal-Mart Workers and Shoppers
December 2007, by Arindrajit Dube, Dave Graham-Squire, Ken Jacobs and Stephanie Luce
This study analyzes what the impact on Wal-Mart workers and shoppers would be if the retailer increased its minimum wage to $10 per hour. It finds that a $10 per hour minimum wage would provide significant, concentrated benefits to Wal-Mart workers, the majority in low-income families, while the costs would be dispersed in small amounts among many consumers across the income spectrum.
A Downward Push: The Impact of Wal-Mart Stores on Retail Wages and Benefits
December 2007, by Arindrajit Dube, T William Lester and Barry Eidlin
This study finds that Wal-Mart store openings lead to the replacement of better paying jobs with jobs that pay less and are less likely to provide health benefits. Wal-Martís entry also drives wages and benefits down for workers in competing industry segments such as grocery stores.
Firm Entry and Wages: Impact of Wal-Mart Growth on Earnings Throughout the Retail Sector
August 2007, by Arindrajit Dube, William T. Lester and Barry Eidlin
This paper estimates the effect of Wal-Mart expansion on wages, benefits, and skill-composition of retail workers during the 1990s. We exploit the spatial pattern of Wal-Mart diffusion, radiating outward from the original store in Benton county, Arkansas, to control for potential endogeneity in store openings using both instrumental variable and control function approaches. Estimates from state and county level data suggest that store openings reduced both the average earnings and health benefits of retail workers. At the county level, a new Wal-Mart is found to reduce retail earnings, on average, by .5 to .9 percent. Moreover, we find that changes in skill-composition explain only a small part of compensation reduction, indicating that the decline in retail wages reflect a reduction in labor market rents.
Wrestling with Wal-Mart
June 2006, by Jared Bernstein, L. Josh Bivens and Arindrajit Dube
This paper reviews recent scholarship on the local and national economic impacts of Wal-Mart, assessing tradeoffs between profits, prices, and wages. The authors critique an oft-cited study commissioned by Wal-Mart, showing that the measures used to claim net consumer price reductions are mis-specified and unreliable. They consider whether increasing wages would affect profits and prices, and show how increasing employee wages and benefits is indeed feasible, without threatening Wal-Mart’s competitive advantage. The conclusion suggests that reliance on transfer programs to subsidize poorly paid workers is not sound public policy, and calls for policies or unionization that set standards for all big box retailers to mitigate a “race to the bottom.”
Internal Wal-Mart Memo Validates Findings of UC Berkeley Study
October 2005, by Arindrajit Dube, Ken Jacobs and Steve Wertheim
The Labor Center’s report, Hidden Cost of Wal-Mart Jobs, found that Wal-Mart workers disproportionately rely on taxpayer funded public health programs in California compared to workers in large retail as a whole. An internal Wal-Mart memo reported on in The New York Times provides data from Wal-Mart validates the basic findings of that UC Berkeley report. This research note highlights this confirming evidence, focusing on workers’ and dependent children’s health coverage.
Wal-Mart and Job Quality: What Do We Know, and Should We Care?
October 2005, by Arindrajit Dube and Steve Wertheim
This report addresses a range of issues surrounding worker earnings and health benefits at Wal-Mart stores. Comparing the company’s wages and employee benefits spending against the US retail and grocery sectors as a whole, the authors find that Wal-Mart is significantly below the sector averages on both measures. The research also reveals that the earnings of US retail workers have suffered due to Wal-Mart’s market presence. Finally, the authors consider the possibility of raising Wal-Mart’s employee compensation, and the effects this might have upon the prices of Wal-Mart goods.
Hidden Cost of Wal-Mart Jobs: Use of Safety Net Programs by Wal-Mart Workers in California
August 2004, by Arindrajit Dube and Ken Jacobs
This widely publicized report finds Wal-Mart’s wage and health benefits packages for its California workers to be below average as compared to the overall retail sector in California. The authors also find a greater reliance upon public assistance programs among Wal-Mart workers as compared to other California retail workers. Finally, the authors estimate the additional costs to taxpayers of “Wal-Martization”—the adoption of Wal-Mart’s wage and health benefits standards by retailers throughout California.