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Change at the Checkout: Tracing the Impact of a Process Innovation

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Abstract

Barcode scanners, introduced in the early 1970s, were a foundational process innovation in the grocery supply chain. By 1984 scanners had been installed in 10% of food stores in the U.S. Difference-in-difference analysis of city-level price data shows that scanners reduced prices of groceries by about 1.4% in their first decade. The results are consistent with prior estimates of labor saving by scanners and better information available to stores. Early adopters and adopters in states that imposed fewer restrictions on complementary process innovations contributed disproportionately to the price decreases.

Suggested Citation

  • Emek Basker, 2013. "Change at the Checkout: Tracing the Impact of a Process Innovation," Working Papers 1302, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 25 Jun 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:1302
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    Cited by:

    1. Rowena Gray & Giulia Montresor & Greg C. Wright, 2017. "Processing Immigration Shocks: Firm Responses on the Innovation Margin," CESifo Working Paper Series 6624, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. repec:bla:jindec:v:65:y:2017:i:2:p:397-438 is not listed on IDEAS
    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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    baretail; supermarkets; prices; technology; Process Innovation; barcode scanners;

    JEL classification:

    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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