Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Raising the Barcode Scanner: Technology and Productivity in the Retail Sector

Contents:

Author Info

  • Emek Basker

Abstract

Barcodes and barcode scanners transformed the grocery industry in the 1970s. I use store-level data from the 1972, 1977, and 1982 Census of Retail Trade, matched to data on store scanner installations, to estimate scanners' effect on labor productivity. I find that scanners increased a store's labor productivity, on average, by approximately 4.5 percent in the first few years. The effect was larger in stores carrying more packaged products, consistent with the presence of network externalities. Short-run gains were small relative to fixed costs, suggesting that the impediment to widespread adoption of the new technology was profitability, not coordination problems. (JEL J24, L24, L81, O33)

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.4.3.1
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/app/data/2011-0202_data.zip
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/app/app/2011-0202_app.pdf
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 1-27

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:4:y:2012:i:3:p:1-27

Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.4.3.1
Contact details of provider:
Email:
Web page: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Web: http://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Emek Basker, 2011. "Raising the Barcode Scanner: Technology and Productivity in the Retail Sector," Working Papers 1101, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 28 May 2011.
  2. Acemoglu, Daron, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809, October.
  3. Jonathan Beck & Michal Grajek & Christian Wey, 2007. "Estimating level effects in diffusion of a new technology: Barcode scanning at the checkout counter," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-07-002, ESMT European School of Management and Technology.
  4. Levy, Daniel, et al, 1997. "The Magnitude of Menu Costs: Direct Evidence from Large U.S. Supermarket Chains," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 791-825, August.
  5. Dale W. Jorgenson & Mun S. Ho & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2008. "A Retrospective Look at the U.S. Productivity Growth Resurgence," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  6. Emek Basker & Shawn Klimek & Pham Hoang Van, 2008. "Supersize It: The Growth of Retail Chains and the Rise of the "Big Box" Retail Format," Working Papers 08-23r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Sep 2011.
  7. Ron S Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2002. "The Longitudinal Business Database," Working Papers 02-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Mark Doms & Ron Jarmin & Shawn Klimek, 2004. "Information technology investment and firm performance in US retail trade," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(7), pages 595-613.
  10. C.J. Krizan & John Haltiwanger & Lucia Foster, 2002. "The Link Between Aggregate and Micro Productivity Growth: Evidence from Retail Trade," Working Papers 02-18, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  11. Holmes, Thomas J, 2001. "Bar Codes Lead to Frequent Deliveries and Superstores," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(4), pages 708-25, Winter.
  12. Paul R. Messinger & Chakravarthi Narasimhan, 1995. "Has Power Shifted in the Grocery Channel?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(2), pages 189-223.
  13. Bresnahan, Timothy F & Greenstein, Shane, 1999. "Technological Competition and the Structure of the Computer Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 1-40, March.
  14. Mark Bergen & Daniel Levy & Sourav Ray & Paul H. Rubin & Benjamin Zeliger, 2008. "When Little Things Mean a Lot: On the Inefficiency of Item-Pricing Laws," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(2), pages 209-250, 05.
  15. Das Nilotpal & Falaris Evangelos M & Mulligan James G, 2009. "Vintage Effects and the Diffusion of Time-Saving Technological Innovations," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-37, June.
  16. Mauro Giorgio Marrano & Jonathan Haskel & Gavin Wallis, 2007. "What Happened to the Knowledge Economy? ICT, Intangible Investment and Britain's Productivity Record Revisited," Working Papers 603, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  17. Paul B. Ellickson & Sanjog Misra, 2008. "Supermarket Pricing Strategies," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(5), pages 811-828, 09-10.
  18. James G. Mulligan & Nilotpal Das, 2004. "Vintage Effects and the Diffusion of Time-Saving Technological Innovations: The Adoption of Optical Scanners by U.S. Supermarkets."," Working Papers 04-06, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
  19. Levin, Sharon G & Levin, Stanford L & Meisel, John B, 1992. "Market Structure, Uncertainty, and Intrafirm Diffusion: The Case of Optical Scanners in Grocery Stores," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 345-50, May.
  20. Ellickson, Paul, 2005. "Does Sutton Apply to Supermarkets?," Working Papers 05-05, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  21. Randolph E. Bucklin & Sunil Gupta, 1999. "Commercial Use of UPC Scanner Data: Industry and Academic Perspectives," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(3), pages 247-273.
  22. David A. Matsa, 2011. "Competition and Product Quality in the Supermarket Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1539-1591.
  23. Leonard I. Nakamura, 1999. "The measurement of retail output and the retail revolution," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(2), pages 408-425, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Horst Raff & Nicolas Schmitt, 2011. "Manufacturers and Retailers in the Global Economy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3508, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Emek Basker, 2012. "Raising the Barcode Scanner: Technology and Productivity in the Retail Sector," NBER Chapters, in: Standards, Patents and Innovations National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Levy, Daniel, 2013. "Discussion of "Change at the Checkout: Tracing the Impact of a Process Innovation" by Emek Basker," MPRA Paper 52605, University Library of Munich, Germany.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:4:y:2012:i:3:p:1-27. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.