Table of Contents

Handbook on the Economics of Retailing and Distribution

Handbook on the Economics of Retailing and Distribution

Edited by Emek Basker

This Handbook explores and critically examines current research in economics and marketing science on key economic issues in retailing and distribution. Providing a rich perspective for the discussion of public policy, contributions from several disciplines and continents range from the history of chains and the impact of multinational retailers on international trade patterns; to the US merger policy in the retail context, the rise of the Internet and consumer-to-consumer sales. This state-of-the-art Handbook is an essential reference for students and academics of economics and marketing science and offers outsiders valuable perspectives on operations research, data analytics, geography, and sociology.

Chapter 2: The evolution of technology in the retail sector

Emek Basker

Subjects: business and management, marketing, economics and finance, industrial economics


Technological innovations have transformed the retail sector over the past several decades, allowing for dramatic increases in product variety, firm size, labor productivity, and concentration ratios. This chapter surveys the adoption and impact of technological innovations by retailers, starting with the mechanical cash register; proceeding through barcode scanning; private computer networks, which enabled electronic payments and electronic data interchange (EDI); radio frequency identification (RFID); and the current use of public networks – the Internet – to facilitate both shopping and information exchange.

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