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Upstream, Downstream: Diffusion and Impacts of the Universal Product Code

Emek Basker and Tim Simcoe

Working Papers from U.S. Census Bureau, Center for Economic Studies

Abstract: This paper matches archival data from the Uniform Code Council to establishments in the Longitudinal Business Database and Economic Census to study the diffusion and impacts of the Universal Product Code (UPC). We find evidence of network effects in the difusion process. Matched-sample difference in-difference estimates show that employment and trademark registrations increase following UPC adoption by manufacturers or wholesalers. Industry-level imports also increase with domestic UPC adoption. Our findings suggest that barcodes, scanning and related technologies helped stimulate variety-enhancing product innovation and encourage the growth of international retail supply chains.

Keywords: Universal Product Code; Barcode; Supply Chain; Network Effects; Trademarks (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O33 L11 L60 L81 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ino
Date: 2017-01
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https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/2017/CES-WP-17-66.pdf First version, 2017 (application/pdf)

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cen:wpaper:17-66

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