Upstream, Downstream: Diffusion and Impacts of the Universal Product Code
76 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2017
Date Written: November 2017
We study the adoption, diffusion, and impacts of the Universal Product Code (UPC) using matched archival and administrative data. 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.
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