Friday, May 19, 2006

Rogoff on Wal-Mart

In a new op-ed, my colleague Ken Rogoff addresses the economics of Wal-Mart. The most striking paragraph:
Together with a few sister “big box” stores (Target, Best Buy, and Home Depot), Wal-Mart accounts for roughly 50% of America’s much vaunted productivity growth edge over Europe during the last decade. Fifty percent! Similar advances in wholesaling supply chains account for another 25%! The notion that Americans have gotten better at everything while other rich countries have stood still is thus wildly misleading. The US productivity miracle and the emergence of Wal-Mart-style retailing are virtually synonymous.