The role of supermarkets in economic development

3x puncte

categorie: Engleza

nota: 9.98

nivel: Facultate

This image of the modern supermarket probably seems out of place set against the backdrop of the developing world, where most consumers are characterized by relatively low incomes, and more traditional markets such as street fairs and small-scale vendors might be considered the norm. Recently, however, some economists have argued a critical urgency in the need to understand the role of supermarket[...]
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This image of the modern supermarket probably seems out of place set against the backdrop of the developing world, where most consumers are characterized by relatively low incomes, and more traditional markets such as street fairs and small-scale vendors might be considered the norm. Recently, however, some economists have argued a critical urgency in the need to understand the role of supermarkets in economic development, noting that where once these stores existed only in high income urban areas to serve a niche market of economically endowed consumers, in the past 10-15 years supermarkets have embarked on a trend of expansion extending services deep into many of the world's developing regions.

The literature on the subject remains notably shallow; it begins with an effort to document and explain the supermarket growth phenomenon, calling attention to the potential development issues associated with this growth, and has since made only limited progress towards more systematic and empirically rigorous analyses of these issues.The collaborative work of Reardon and others represents the first major effort to establish the growth of supermarkets as a development issue (Reardon and Berdegue for Latin America; Codron et al.

For low income Mediterranean countries; Dries, Reardon, and Swinnen for Central and Eastern Europe; Faiguenbaum, Berdegue, and Reardon for Chile; Hu et al. for China; Neven and Reardon for Kenya; Reardon and Swinnen for former state-controlled economies; Reardon, Timmer, and Berdegue for an overview of Latin America, Asia, and Africa; Weatherspoon and Reardon for Africa). Collectively, these studies build a case for the growing importance, and in some cases dominance, of supermarkets in the retail food markets of developing countries.

They provide the initial documentation of supermarket expansion, introduce a conceptual framework in which to consider determinants of supermarket expansion, and plead an urgent need to improve the understanding of the supermarket's role in development. Relying primarily on case study evidence, these authors describe supermarkets as both an opportunity and challenge for small-scale agriculture producers where supermarkets exist, and warn of a substantial risk of market exclusion if small producers are unable to meet the standards of modern supermarket procurement chains. While this call to action has captured the attention of economists of colleagues, skepticism remains, and more formal models to address the impact on small-scale producers and economic development have been slow to develop.
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