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The Sources of Increased Efficiency: A Study of DuPont Rayon Plants

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  • Samuel Hollander

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    (Ben-Gurion University)

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    Abstract

    An extraordinary opportunity offered by the Du Pont Company gave Professor Hollander free access both to all detailed cost and much investment data related to rayon manufacture at a number of plants, covering a period of thirty years and to a wide range of informed personnel and officers. These data enabled Professor Hollander to make an unprecedented study of a large industrial firm for the purpose of measuring the contribution of various sources of improvement to increased efficiency. From the mass of information available, he has selected sound technical details and concepts, excluded all irrelevant material, and presented a carefully organized case study showing how technical change accounts for a very high proportion of the increases in productivity. Specifically, this information includes descriptions of the contributions of various types of technical change to production cost reductions, quantitative estimates of the contributions of technical change and economies of scale to increased efficiency, and analyses of the relation between technical change and investment and of the sources of new technology. The microeconomic approach is related to certain macrostudies of productivity increase, and several policy implications are drawn. This study should be of great interest to a wide audience including economists, economic historians, and technologists. All those concerned with the problems of economic growth, industrial structure, patent protection, technical invention, research and development, and the general progress of civilian industrial technology will find this book a valuable addition to their libraries.

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    Bibliographic Info

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    This book is provided by The MIT Press in its series MIT Press Books with number 026258235x and published in 1965.

    Volume: 1
    Edition: 1
    ISBN: 0-262-58235-X
    Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:026258235x

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    Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu

    Related research

    Keywords: dupont company; rayon plants; industrial technology; patent protection; technical invention;

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    Cited by:
    1. Figueiredo, Paulo N., 2002. "Does technological learning pay off? Inter-firm differences in technological capability-accumulation paths and operational performance improvement," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 73-94, January.
    2. Baldwin, John R., 1999. "A Portrait of Entrants and Exits," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1999121e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    3. Ronald S. Jarmin, 1994. "Learning by Doing and Competition in the Early Rayon Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(3), pages 441-454, Autumn.
    4. Bell, Martin & Albu, Michael, 1999. "Knowledge Systems and Technological Dynamism in Industrial Clusters in Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1715-1734, September.
    5. Freeman, Christopher & Soete, Luc, 2009. "Developing science, technology and innovation indicators: What we can learn from the past," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 583-589, May.
    6. Mario Coccia, 2003. "An Approach To The Measurement Of Technological Change Based On The Intensity Of Innovation," CERIS Working Paper 200302, Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth - Moncalieri (TO).
    7. Baldwin, John R. & Gellatly, Guy, 1998. "Are There High-tech Industries or Only High-tech Firms? Evidence from New Technology-based Firms," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1998120e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    8. Baldwin, John R., 1999. "Un portrait des entrees et des sorties," Direction des etudes analytiques : documents de recherche 1999121f, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques.
    9. Baldwin, John R., 2000. "Innovation and Training in New Firms," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2000123e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    10. Festel, Gunter & Würmseher, Martin & Rammer, Christian & Boles, Eckhard & Bellof, Martin, 2013. "Modelling production cost scenarios for biofuels and fossil fuels in Europe," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-075, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    11. Dietmar Harhoff & Frederic M. Scherer & Katrin Vopel, 1997. "Exploring the Tail of Patented Invention Value Distributions," CIG Working Papers FS IV 97-27, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    12. Hervas-Oliver, Jose-Luis & Sempere-Ripoll, Francisca & Boronat-Moll, Carles, 2012. "Process innovation objectives and management complementarities: patterns, drivers, co-adoption and performance effects," MERIT Working Papers 051, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    13. Baldwin, John R. & Gellatly, Guy, 1998. "La haute technologie est-elle l'exclusivite des entreprises ou peut-elle s'appliquer a l'ensemble d'un secteur d'activite? Donnees recueillies aupres des nouvelles entreprises axees sur la technologie," Direction des etudes analytiques : documents de recherche 1998120f, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques.
    14. Kaplinsky, Raphael, 2011. "Schumacher meets Schumpeter: Appropriate technology below the radar," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 193-203, March.
    15. Barbiroli, Giancarlo, 1995. "Measuring technological dynamics and structural change, their interrelationships and their effects," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 377-396, August.
    16. Marco D. Huesch & Mariko Sakakibara, 2009. "Forgetting the learning curve for a moment: how much performance is un related to own experience?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(7), pages 855-862.
    17. Susan Helper, 1997. "Complementarity and Cost Reduction: Evidence from the Auto Supply Industry," NBER Working Papers 6033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Chris Freeman, 2003. "A Schumpeterian Renaissance?," SPRU Working Paper Series 102, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.

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