business news in context, analysis with attitude

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a study published in Social Science Quarterly saying that there is “a stronger correlation between the number of Walmart stores in a county and local hate group activity than other factors such as unemployment, crime and low education.”

“Walmart has clearly done good things in these communities, especially in terms of lowering prices, but there may be indirect costs that are not as obvious as other effects,” says Stephan Goetz, Penn State professor and the study’s lead author.

However, Goetz emphasizes that he is not picking on Walmart: “In this study, Wal-Mart is really serving as a proxy for any type of large retailer,” he says.
KC's View:
Who thinks of these study topics, anyway? (I never would have thought to track anything like this.)

Still, it is interesting. The study says that “ because big-box stores drive away small businesses, they also contribute to the erosion of community values, civil engagement and social bonds, allowing for hate group activity to rise.”

I’m sure that Walmart will have some sort of rejoinder. Though, maybe not - this may be one of those cases where it makes sense to simply ignore the study and hope it will go away.