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Hypermarket Competition and the Diffusion of Retail Checkout Barcode Scanning

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  • Jonathan Beck
  • Michal Grajek
  • Christian Wey

Abstract

This paper presents a set of panel data to study the diffusion of retail checkout barcode scanning in ten European countries over the period 1981-1996. Estimates from a standard diffusion model suggest that countries differ most in the long-run diffusion level of barcode scanning and less in timing or diffusion speed. We present evidence that the emergence of hypermarkets raises competitive intensity and use hypermarket data, among other variables, in a pooled estimation. Results suggest that hypermarket competition reduces longrun adoption of information technology (IT) in retailing. In particular, the emergence of hypermarkets seems to deepen retail segmentation by inducing potential adopters (e.g. supermarkets) to exit the market and/or by discouraging adoption by other retail formats. Consistent with expectations, scale and income effects spur IT diffusion and there is a classic substitution effect: when wages rise, diffusion of a labor-saving technology such as barcode scanning is more intense. We do not find a significant impact of employment protection legislation. ZUSAMMENFASSUNG - (Wettbewerb durch Hypermärkte und die Diffusion von Scannerkassen im Einzelhandel) In diesem Papier stellen wir einen Datensatz zur Diffusion des Barcode- Scannens im Einzelhandel in zehn europäischen Ländern zwischen 1981 und 1996 vor. Schätzergebnisse auf Basis eines bewährten Diffusionsmodells ergeben, dass diese Länder sich hauptsächlich im langfristigen Verbreitungsniveau des Barcode-Scannens unterscheiden, und weniger in Diffusionsbeginn und -geschwindigkeit. Wir präsentieren Evidenz dafür, dass die Verbreitung von Hypermärkten die Wettbewerbsintensität im Einzelhandel erhöht und verwenden Daten zu Hypermärkten, zusammen mit anderen Variablen, in einer gemeinsamen Schätzung. Die Ergebnisse legen nahe, dass Wettbewerb durch Hypermärkte sich langfristig negativ auf die Diffusion von Informationstechnologie (IT) im Einzelhandel auswirkt. Insbesondere scheint die Verbreitung von Hypermärkten die Segmentierung im Einzelhandel zu vertiefen, indem sie potentielle Nutzer von IT (z.B. Supermärkte) zum Marktaustritt verleitet und/oder andere Einzelhändler von der Nutzung abschreckt. Wie erwartet stärken Skalen- und Einkommenseffekte die Diffusion von IT, und es gibt einen klassischen Substitutionseffekt: bei steigenden Löhnen ist die Diffusion einer arbeitssparenden Technologie wie dem Barcode-Scannen intensiver. Gesetzgebung zum Kündigungsschutz scheint keine signifikanten Auswirkungen auf IT-Diffusion zu haben.

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Paper provided by Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG) in its series CIG Working Papers with number SP II 2005-19.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wzb:wzebiv:spii2005-19

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Keywords: IT diffusion; retail competition; hypermarkets;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Michal Grajek & Tobias Kretschmer, 2006. "Usage and Diffusion of Cellular Telephony, 1998-2004," Working Papers 06-21, NET Institute, revised Oct 2006.
  2. Jonathan Beck & Michal Grajek & Christian Wey, 2011. "Estimating level effects in diffusion of a new technology: barcode scanning at the checkout counter," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(14), pages 1737-1748.

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