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

Emek Basker and Timothy Simcoe

No 24040, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: We match 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 diffusion process. Matched-sample difference-in-difference estimates show that firm size and trademark registrations increase following UPC adoption by manufacturers. Industry-level import penetration also increases 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.

JEL-codes: L11 L15 L81 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ind, nep-pay and nep-tid
Date: 2017-11
Note: PR
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