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Customer‐employee substitution: Evidence from gasoline stations

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  • Emek Basker
  • Lucia Foster
  • Shawn Klimek

Abstract

We document the adoption of self‐service pumps in U.S. gasoline stations from 1977 to 1992. Using establishment‐level data from the Census of Retail Trade over this period, we show that self‐service stations employ approximately one quarter fewer attendants per pump, all else equal. The work done by these attendants has shifted to customers, biasing upward conventional measures of productivity growth.

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  • Emek Basker & Lucia Foster & Shawn Klimek, 2017. "Customer‐employee substitution: Evidence from gasoline stations," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(4), pages 876-896, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:26:y:2017:i:4:p:876-896
    DOI: 10.1111/jems.12215
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    3. Lucas W. Davis, Shaun Mcrae, and Enrique Seira Bejarano, 2019. "An Economic Perspective on Mexico's Nascent Deregulation of Retail Petroleum Markets," Economics of Energy & Environmental Policy, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    4. Nikolas Zolas & Zachary Kroff & Erik Brynjolfsson & Kristina McElheran & David N. Beede & Cathy Buffington & Nathan Goldschlag & Lucia Foster & Emin Dinlersoz, 2020. "Advanced Technologies Adoption and Use by U.S. Firms: Evidence from the Annual Business Survey," NBER Working Papers 28290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Taehwan Kim, 2018. "Price Competition and Market Segmentation in Retail Gasoline: New Evidence from South Korea," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 53(3), pages 507-534, November.
    6. Daniel Aaronson & Brian J Phelan, 2019. "Wage Shocks and the Technological Substitution of Low‐wage Jobs," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(617), pages 1-34.
    7. Emin Dinlersoz & Zoltan Wolf, 2018. "Automation, Labor Share, and Productivity: Plant-Level Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing," Working Papers 18-39, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    8. Berger, Thor & Chen, Chinchih & Frey, Carl Benedikt, 2018. "Drivers of disruption? Estimating the Uber effect," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 197-210.
    9. Soetevent, Adriaan R. & Bružikas, Tadas, 2018. "The impact of process innovation on prices: Evidence from automated fuel retailing in The Netherlands," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 181-196.
    10. Baensch Laura & Lanzalot Maria Laura & Stucchi Rodolfo & Lotti Giulia, 2019. "Do Labor Market Regulations Affect the Link between Innovation and Employment? Evidence from Latin America," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 19(3), pages 1-13, July.
    11. Emek Basker & Randy A. Becker & Lucia Foster & T. Kirk White & Alice Zawacki, 2019. "Addressing Data Gaps: Four New Lines of Inquiry in the 2017 Economic Census," Working Papers 19-28, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    12. Ahlin, Christian & Kim, In Kyung & Kim, Kyoo il, 2021. "Who commits fraud? evidence from korean gas stations," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    13. Jeffrey Clemens & Lisa B. Kahn & Jonathan Meer, 2021. "Dropouts Need Not Apply? The Minimum Wage and Skill Upgrading," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(S1), pages 107-149.
    14. Koch, Andreas & Kirchmann, Andrea & Reiner, Marcel & Scheu, Tobias & Zühlke, Anne & Bonin, Holger, 2020. "Verhaltensmuster von Betrieben und Beschäftigten im Kontext des gesetzlichen Mindestlohns," IZA Research Reports 97, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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