WalMart/Big Box Subsidies Don't Work, Says New Study

When governments use public money to woo national chains, economic growth and job creation aren't worth the cost, says Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Independent retailers also suffer.

1 minute read

September 12, 2011, 2:00 PM PDT

By Tim Halbur


Handing out multimillion-dollar subsidies to large chains has become commonplace in much of the country, explains Mitchell. These deals are premised on the idea that new shopping centers and big-box stores expand employment and create economic growth, but a recent study indicates that subsidizing retail development produces neither job gains nor new tax revenue:

The study "...indicates that subsidizing retail development produces neither job gains nor new tax revenue. Earlier this year a consortium of local governments in the St. Louis metro area found that cities and counties in the region had diverted more than $5.8 billion in public tax dollars to finance private development. More than 80 percent of these funds supported the construction of new chain stores and shopping centers.

Yet the region has seen virtually no economic growth."

The full report can be downloaded here. (PDF)

Friday, September 9, 2011 in Business Week

View of Mount Hood at golden hour with Happy Valley, Oregon homes in foreground.

Clackamas County Votes to Allow ADUs, Residential RVs

County officials hope the zoning changes will help boost the housing supply in the region.

June 18, 2024 - Mountain Times

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Archer Aviation Midnight eVTOL aircraft on display at Dubai Airshow November 13th 2023, dark colors, bright background, indoors. Electric aircraft, electric helicopter.

FAA Approves Air Taxis

Two Bay Area companies are planning to develop autonomous commuter flight services between San Francisco and local cities.

June 24, 2024 - Smart Cities Dive

People on bikes riding across 4th Street Bridge in Los Angeles during 2010 CicLAvia event.

The ‘Virtuous Circle’ of Bikeability

Research reveals that, once a city reaches a certain threshold of bike infrastructure, opposition decreases and residents want more.

2 hours ago - Streetsblog USA

Overhead view of black asphalt parking lot with white lined parking spots with EV charging logos.

Study Highlights Equity Gaps in California's EV Incentives

A UCLA research team identifies gaps in incentive uptake and electric vehicle registration rates in disadvantaged communities.

3 hours ago - UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation

Three dark brown wild horses stand in a meadow near Farson, Wyoming.

Utah and Wyoming Sue BLM Over Conservation Rule

The states allege the agency overstepped federal regulations in its attempt to boost conservation efforts on public lands.

4 hours ago - WyoFile

Senior Planner

Town of Los Altos Hills

City Planner I

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner II

Department of Housing and Community Development

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.