There are currently no officially sanctioned within-state regional cost-of-living indices for Illinois. This gap replicates a similar statistical gap at the federal level. Though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) produces individual metropolitan area and national regional indices, these measure changes in inflation over time for each metropolitan area and region and are not comparable across cities or regions at any given point in time. Since the BLS discontinued its inter-area cost-of-living index in 1981, no government agency has taken on this task.
The prospect of the opening of a new Wal-Mart store on the west side of Chicago has raised concerns about its potential impact on existing retailers. While Wal-Mart and its advocates suggest that the store will have a positive impact by adding jobs and income to the local economy, a more careful analysis is necessary to understand the net benefits associated with the proposed development. This study assesses the likely impact of a new Wal-Mart store on other local retailers and the resulting employment and tax revenue impacts on the City of Chicago and its residents.