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• A new study, written by Stephan Goetz, a professor of agricultural and regional economics at Pennsylvania State University, and Hema Swaminathan for the International Center for Research on Women, concludes that "an estimated 20,000 families nationwide have fallen below the official poverty line as a result of the chain's expansion."

In other words, the study says that Wal-Mart helps to create poverty.

According to the study, "During the last decade, dependence on the food stamp program nationwide increased by 8 percent, while in counties with Wal-Mart stores the increase was almost twice as large at 15.3 percent, according to the study. Although Wal-Mart employs many people living in its communities, for most, the hours worked and the wages paid do not help these families transition out of poverty." In addition, the study suggests that by helping to create a competitive climate that shuts down independent retailers, Wal-Mart also is participating in the elimination of higher-paying jobs than it offers in its stores.

Wal-Mart has not responded to the study, which was published in the latest issue of Social Science Quarterly.

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