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Learning, Complementarities, and Asynchronous Use of Technology

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  • Boyan Jovanovic
  • Dmitriy Stolyarov

Abstract

This paper deals with processes that require several complementary inputs subject to improvements in quality. If after a quality upgrade one of these inputs requires a period of learning before it can be used effectively, then in general it will pay to purchase the inputs at different dates -- the purchases will be asynchronous. That is so because it is wasteful to tie up funds in the other inputs which will be underutilized until the date learning is over. We provide evidence that technology has been used asynchronously in the automobile industry, in the television broadcasting industry, in electricity supply, and in railways, and we argue that our model helps explain this evidence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5870.

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Date of creation: Jan 1997
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5870

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  1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 1994. "On the Timing and Efficiency of Creative Destruction," NBER Working Papers 4768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1992. "Staggered and Synchronized Price Policies under Inflation: The Multiproduct Monopoly Case," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 331-59, April.
  3. John Haltiwanger & Russell Cooper, 1992. "The Aggregate Implications Of Machine Replacement: Theory And Evidence," Working Papers 92-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  4. Nishimura, Kazuo, 1985. "Competitive equilibrium cycles," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 284-306, August.
  5. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
  6. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-28, June.
  7. Bahk, Byong-Hong & Gort, Michael, 1993. "Decomposing Learning by Doing in New Plants," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 561-83, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2006. "Complementarities in Automobile Production," NBER Working Papers 12131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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