Emek Basker, Timothy S. Simcoe, 18 January 2018

ICT fuelled rapid growth in US retail during the 1990s and 2000s. This column maps the adoption of universal product codes and scanners to show that the barcode was one of the main drivers of this growth. Companies adopting barcodes employed 10% more employees, delivered a wider range of products, and were more likely to procure from abroad.

Ryan Decker, John Haltiwanger, Ron Jarmin, Javier Miranda, 19 March 2016

Recent evidence suggests that transformational entrepreneurial firms – those that introduce major innovations and make substantial contributions to growth – have been in decline. This column uses US micro data to explore the behaviour of high-growth young firms between 1980 and 2010. A decline in young firm activity in the 1980s and 1990s was dominated by young firms in the retail trade sector. In the post-2000 period, in contrast, a sharp decline in high-growth young businesses in key innovative sectors like high tech suggests there has been a decline in transformational entrepreneurs in this sector. 

David Atkin, Benjamin Faber, Marco Gonzalez-Navarro, 08 June 2015

Much attention has been paid to supermarkets descending on developing nations, not least because retail is traditionally a big employer. Presenting evidence from Mexico, this column argues that the debate about new foreign retail outlets should focus far more on how supermarkets can greatly reduce the cost of living for the vast majority of local households rather than restricting attention to potentially adverse effects on nominal incomes within the retail sector.

Iftekhar Hasan, Tuomas Takalo, 24 January 2014

Efficient retail payments are associated not only with lower direct costs but also with indirect benefits, and ultimately – with enhanced economic growth. This column presents research on different retail payment habits in the Eurozone. A correlation exists between the forms of payment in a country and its recent economic fortune. There are a number of methods to promote more efficient payments. The biggest challenge to increase the efficiency of retail payments in Europe is the heavy regulation and barriers to entry of new payment methods.

Beata Javorcik, Yue Li, 15 February 2013

Retailing has experienced disruptive technology progress in recent decades – what might be called Walmartisation. This column explains how the entry of global retail chains may transform the retail sector and the supplying industries in the host economies. Focusing on the Romanian case, it shows that a 10% increase in the number of foreign chains’ outlets is associated with a 2.4% to 2.6% increase in the productivity in the supplying industries.

Liran Einav, Theresa Kuchler, Jonathan Levin, Neel Sundaresan, 18 September 2011

The internet has reduced dramatically the cost of varying prices, displays, and information provided to consumers. This column discusses how this change enables both passive and active experimentation by retailers, and how this experimentation can be used by economic researchers in a way that takes advantage of the scale and heterogeneity of online markets.

Chad Syverson, 25 July 2010

The internet is changing the way people do business. This column looks at how e-commerce has affected market structure among travel agencies, bookstores, and car dealerships. It suggests that low-cost firms will gain market share and may even become more profitable as e-commerce spreads, while higher-cost firms will be hurt, perhaps fatally.

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