Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low-income? No Car? Expect To Pay More For Groceries

Date:
September 2, 2008
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Households located in poor neighborhoods pay more for the same items than people living in wealthy ones, according to a new study.

Households located in poor neighborhoods pay more for the same items than people living in wealthy ones, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Author Debabrata Talukdar (Columbia University) examines the impact of what has been dubbed the "ghetto tax" on low-income individuals. His study found that the critical factor in how much a household spends on groceries is whether it has access to a car.

"Arguably, as the bigger, more cost-efficient stores move out, the poor increasingly are likely to find themselves choosing between traveling farther to purchase nutritious, competitively priced groceries or paying inflated prices for low-quality, processed foods at corner stores," Talukdar writes.

According to the findings, those without access to cars—which are exclusively poor households, but include only 40 percent of poor households— pay higher prices for groceries than households with access to a car (whether wealthy or poor). Lacking mobility means consumers buy from the nearest neighborhood store rather than larger regional or national grocery chains, which have lower prices.

The author did a field study in Buffalo, New York, dividing up zip-code areas into richest, medium, and poorest neighborhood. He then used multiple sources to determine all the stores that sell grocery products in the 17 neighborhoods selected for the study. He then tracked prices of 15 items across 115 stores for three months, and found that, relative to the lowest available price in all neighborhoods, shoppers at the richest, medium, and poorest neighborhoods pay on average 11 percent, 14 percent, and 22 percent more, respectively. The study also examined the behaviors, attitudes, and demographics of consumers by interviewing shoppers at the stores.

The author believes the poor aren't being intentionally slighted. "Stores' pricing and location decisions in most instances are guided by competitive factors rather than any bias against the poor or their neighborhoods," Talukdar writes.

Given the extreme inequality in access to affordable groceries, the author has suggestions for a more equitable solution. "One suggestion would be to explore the possibility of encouraging 'co-operative stores,' which spreads the ownership among a relatively large group of stake-holders within the poor community while at the same time increasing its operational economies of scale. Another possibility might be to consider joint ownership or management of franchises of selective stores in the poorest neighborhoods by the corporate owners of big grocery chains and poor residents."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Talukdar et al. Cost of Being Poor: Retail Price and Consumer Price Search Differences across Inner‐City and Suburban Neighborhoods. Journal of Consumer Research, 2008; 0 (0): 080708121416870 DOI: 10.1086/589563

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Low-income? No Car? Expect To Pay More For Groceries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080822160341.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2008, September 2). Low-income? No Car? Expect To Pay More For Groceries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080822160341.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Low-income? No Car? Expect To Pay More For Groceries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080822160341.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday warned about the potential "catastrophe" if global warming was not dealt with in a "powerful" way. Duration: 01:08 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins