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Technology Adoption, Learning by Doing, and Productivity: A Study of Steel Refining Furnaces

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  • Tsuyoshi Nakamura

    (Department of Economics, Tokyo Keizai University)

  • Hiroshi Ohashi

    (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)

Abstract

Models of vintage-capital learning by doing predict an initial fall in productivity after the introduction of new technology. This paper examines the impact of new technology on plant-level productivity in the Japanese steel industry in the 1950s and 1960s. The introduction of the basic oxygen furnace was the greatest breakthrough in the steel refining process in the last century. We estimate production function, taking account of the differences in technology between the refining furnaces owned by a plant. Estimation results indicate that a more productive plant was likely to adopt the new technology, and that the adoption would be timed to occur right after the peak of the productivity level achieved with the old technology. We have found that the adoption of the new technology primarily accounted not only for the industry's productivity slowdown in the early 1960s, but also for the industry's remarkable growth in the post-war period. These results are robust to endogeneity in the choice of input and technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo in its series CIRJE F-Series with number CIRJE-F-368.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tky:fseres:2005cf368

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  1. Kasahara, Hiroyuki & Rodrigue, Joel, 2008. "Does the use of imported intermediates increase productivity? Plant-level evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 106-118, August.
  2. Tor Jakob Klette & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "The Inconsistency of Common Scales Estimators when Output Prices are Unobserved and Endogenous," Discussion Papers 127, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  3. Gort, Michael & Wall, Richard A., 1998. "Obsolescence, input augmentation, and growth accounting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1653-1665, November.
  4. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence From Microdata, 1984-1989," NBER Working Papers 3858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Bertin, Amy L & Bresnahan, Timothy F & Raff, Daniel M G, 1996. "Localized Competition and the Aggregation of Plant-Level Increasing Returns: Blast Furnaces, 1929-1935," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 241-66, April.
  8. John E. DiNardo & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1996. "The Returns to Computer Use Revisited: Have Pencils Changed the Wage Structure Too?," NBER Working Papers 5606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Huggett, Mark & Ospina, Sandra, 2001. "Does productivity growth fall after the adoption of new technology?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 173-195, August.
  10. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
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Cited by:
  1. Thomas J. Holmes & David K. Levine & James A. Schmitz, 2012. "Monopoly and the Incentive to Innovate When Adoption Involves Switchover Disruptions," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 1-33, August.
  2. Thomas J Holmes & David K Levine & James A Schmitz Jr, 2008. "Monopoly and the Incentive to Innovate When Adoption Involves Switchover Disruptions," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001920, David K. Levine.

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