|Chapter :||Section I: The History and Measurement of Wal-Mart|
The History and Measurement of Wal-Mart
Placing the experience of Wal-Mart into historical context is an important part of any study which purports to explain its impact today. Thus, an understanding of the development and growth of chain stores, as well as the antipathy towards them provides a solid start to the economic and policy questions surrounding Wal-Mart today.
Beyond a history of chain stores and the newer big-box variety is the very real concern over the methods of estimating Wal-Mart’s impacts on local communities. Much of the research that informs public policy and makes headlines is technically rigorous, thoughtful, unbiased and helpful. But, for every solid analytical effort, local policy makers are likely to confront dozens of studies or reports of dubious methodology and intent. So a first step is to review the statistical methods and techniques appropriately used to explain Wal-Mart’s impact. This is also a good venue to explain how to interpret the statistics within this book.