Posted on April 13, 2012

Walmart, Big-Box Stores Linked with Hate Groups in Study

Kate Shellnutt, Chron, April 12, 2012

The number of big-box retailers in a community can have social and economic effects that lead to the formation of hate groups, a recent study found.

Researchers found 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,” said Stephan Goetz, Penn State professor and the study’s lead author.

Goetz’s team speculated 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.

{snip} Their findings were published a recent edition of Social Science Quarterly.