Upstream, Downstream: Diffusion and Impacts of the Universal Product Code
48 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2017 Last revised: 6 Dec 2017
Date Written: November 10, 2017
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 diffusion 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
JEL Classification: O33, L11, L60, L81
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation