Customer-Employee Substitution: Evidence from Gasoline Stations

43 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2015 Last revised: 5 Jul 2017

See all articles by Emek Basker

Emek Basker

U.S. Census Bureau - Center for Economic Studies; University of Missouri - Department of Economics

Lucia Foster

U.S. Census Bureau - Center for Economic Studies

Shawn D. Klimek

U.S. Census Bureau - Center for Economic Studies

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 1, 2017

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 upwards conventional measures of productivity growth.

Keywords: Customer-employee substitution, retail, gasoline station, self service, full service, outsourcing

JEL Classification: D22, D24, J23, L81

Suggested Citation

Basker, Emek and Foster, Lucia and Klimek, Shawn D., Customer-Employee Substitution: Evidence from Gasoline Stations (May 1, 2017). US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES-WP- 15-45. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2705494 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2705494

Emek Basker (Contact Author)

U.S. Census Bureau - Center for Economic Studies ( email )

4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233-9100
United States

University of Missouri - Department of Economics ( email )

118 Professional Building
Columbia, MO 65211
United States

HOME PAGE: http://emekbasker.org

Lucia Foster

U.S. Census Bureau - Center for Economic Studies ( email )

4700 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
United States

Shawn D. Klimek

U.S. Census Bureau - Center for Economic Studies ( email )

4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
United States
(301) 763-2861 (Phone)
(301 763-5935 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ces.census.gov

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