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How Much Did the Liberty Shipbuilders Learn? New Evidence for an Old Case Study

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  • Peter Thompson

Abstract

This paper offers some new estimates of the contribution of learning to the rapid increases in labor productivity observed in the construction of Liberty ships during World War II. The study exploits new data on physical capital investment and vessel quality constructed from contemporary records held at the National Archives. Estimates of the rate of learning are shown to be sensitive to the inclusion of the new capital data, and data on vessel quality provide evidence that part of the measured productivity increases were secured at the expense of quality.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 109 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 103-137

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:109:y:2001:i:1:p:103-137

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  1. Krugman, Paul, 1987. "The narrow moving band, the Dutch disease, and the competitive consequences of Mrs. Thatcher : Notes on trade in the presence of dynamic scale economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 41-55, October.
  2. A. M. Spence, 1981. "The Learning Curve and Competition," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(1), pages 49-70, Spring.
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  1. Learning and Liberty Ships, P. Thompson
    by afinetheorem in A Fine Theorem on 2012-10-12 08:17:53
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