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How Much Did the Liberty Shipbuilders Forget?

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  • Peter Thompson

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Florida International University, Miami, Florida 33199)

Abstract

This paper produces new estimates of the rate of organizational forgetting in the well-known case study of U.S. wartime ship production. Estimates obtained using data constructed from primary sources at the National Archives yield rates of forgetting that are much smaller than previously reported, and may well be zero. The richness of the data makes it possible to control for variations in the product mix, to explore alternative formulations for the learning curve, and to investigate the relationship between organizational forgetting and labor turnover.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1060.0678
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 53 (2007)
Issue (Month): 6 (June)
Pages: 908-918

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:53:y:2007:i:6:p:908-918

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Keywords: learning by doing; organizational forgetting; Liberty ships; industries; transportation equipment; organizational studies; productivity; effectiveness-performance;

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References

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  1. Auerswald, Philip & Kauffman, Stuart & Lobo, Jose & Shell, Karl, 2000. "The production recipes approach to modeling technological innovation: An application to learning by doing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 389-450, March.
  2. Peter Thompson, 1997. "How Much Did the Liberty Shipbuilders Learn? New Evidence for an Old Case Study," Development and Comp Systems 9712001, EconWPA.
  3. John F. Muth, 1986. "Search Theory and the Manufacturing Progress Function," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(8), pages 948-962, August.
  4. Rebecca Achee Thornton & Peter Thompson, 2001. "Learning from Experience and Learning from Others: An Exploration of Learning and Spillovers in Wartime Shipbuilding," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1350-1368, December.
  5. Eric D. Darr & Linda Argote & Dennis Epple, 1995. "The Acquisition, Transfer, and Depreciation of Knowledge in Service Organizations: Productivity in Franchises," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(11), pages 1750-1762, November.
  6. Linda Argote & Sara L. Beckman & Dennis Epple, 1990. "The Persistence and Transfer of Learning in Industrial Settings," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(2), pages 140-154, February.
  7. C. Lanier Benkard, 2000. "Learning and Forgetting: The Dynamics of Aircraft Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
  8. Kazuhiro Mishina, 1999. "Learning by New Experiences: Revisiting the Flying Fortress Learning Curve," NBER Chapters, in: Learning by Doing in Markets, Firms, and Countries, pages 145-184 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Learning and Liberty Ships, P. Thompson
    by afinetheorem in A Fine Theorem on 2012-10-12 08:17:53
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Cited by:
  1. Peter Thompson, 2008. "Learning by Doing," Working Papers 0806, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
  2. Besanko, David & Doraszelski, Ulrich & Kryukov, Yaroslav & Satterthwaite, Mark, 2007. "Learning-by-Doing, Organizational Forgetting and Industry Dynamics," CEPR Discussion Papers 6160, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. David Besanko & Ulrich Doraszelski & Yaroslav Kryukov & Mark Satterthwaite, 2008. "Learning-by-Doing, Organizational Forgetting, and Industry Dynamics," GSIA Working Papers 2009-E22, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  4. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List & Chad Syverson, 2012. "Toward an Understanding of Learning by Doing: Evidence from an Automobile Assembly Plant," NBER Working Papers 18017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Carolyn D. Egelman & Dennis Epple & Linda Argote & Erica R.H. Fuchs, 2013. "Learning by Doing in a Multi-Product Manufacturing Environment: Product Variety, Customizations, and Overlapping Product Generations," NBER Working Papers 19674, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Robert S. Huckman & Bradley R. Staats, 2008. "Variation in Experience and Team Familiarity: Addressing the Knowledge Acquisition-Application Problem," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-035, Harvard Business School.
  7. Sáenz-Royo, Carlos & Salas-Fumás, Vicente, 2013. "Learning to learn and productivity growth: Evidence from a new car-assembly plant," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 336-344.
  8. Yaroslav Kryukov & Ulrich Doraszelski & David Besanko, . "The economics of predation: What drives pricing when there is learning-by-doing?," GSIA Working Papers 2011-E30, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  9. Brachet, Tanguy & David, Guy, 2009. "On the Determinants of Organizational Forgetting," MPRA Paper 21464, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Mariel Lavieri & Martin Puterman, 2009. "Optimizing nursing human resource planning in British Columbia," Health Care Management Science, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 119-128, June.
  11. Ryan Kellogg, 2011. "Learning by Drilling: Interfirm Learning and Relationship Persistence in the Texas Oilpatch," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1961-2004.
  12. Jason Hockenberry & Lorens Helmchen, 2014. "The Nature of Surgeon Human Capital Depreciation," NBER Working Papers 20017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Blazek, David & Sickles, Robin C., 2010. "The impact of knowledge accumulation and geographical spillovers on productivity and efficiency: The case of U. S. shipbuilding during WWII," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1484-1497, November.

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