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

76 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2017

See all articles by Emek Basker

Emek Basker

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

Timothy Simcoe

Boston University - Questrom School of Business; NBER

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Date Written: November 2017

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Basker, Emek and Simcoe, Timothy S., Upstream, Downstream: Diffusion and Impacts of the Universal Product Code (November 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w24040. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3074218

Emek Basker (Contact Author)

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

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University of Missouri - Department of Economics ( email )

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Timothy S. Simcoe

Boston University - Questrom School of Business ( email )

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NBER ( email )

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