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On the Determinants of Organizational Forgetting

Author

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  • Guy David
  • Tanguy Brachet

Abstract

Studies of organizational learning and forgetting identify potential channels through which the firm's production experience is lost. These channels have differing implications for efficient resource allocation within the firm, but their relative importance has been ignored to date. We develop a framework for distinguishing the contributions of labor turnover and human capital depreciation to organizational forgetting. We apply our framework to a novel dataset of ambulance companies and their workforce. We find evidence of organizational forgetting, which results from skill decay and turnover effects. The latter has twice the magnitude of the former. (JEL D23, D83, J24, J63)

Suggested Citation

  • Guy David & Tanguy Brachet, 2011. "On the Determinants of Organizational Forgetting," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 100-123, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:3:y:2011:i:3:p:100-123
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.3.3.100
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Charles D. Bailey, 1989. "Forgetting and the Learning Curve: A Laboratory Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(3), pages 340-352, March.
    3. Rigobon, Roberto & Stoker, Thomas M., 2009. "Bias From Censored Regressors," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(3), pages 340-353.
    4. Verbeek, Marno & Nijman, Theo, 1992. "Testing for Selectivity Bias in Panel Data Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(3), pages 681-703, August.
    5. Peter Thompson, 2007. "How Much Did the Liberty Shipbuilders Forget?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(6), pages 908-918, June.
    6. David, Guy & Chiang, Arthur J., 2009. "The determinants of public versus private provision of Emergency Medical Services," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 312-319, March.
    7. Robert S. Huckman & Gary P. Pisano, 2006. "The Firm Specificity of Individual Performance: Evidence from Cardiac Surgery," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(4), pages 473-488, April.
    8. Dennis Epple & Linda Argote & Kenneth Murphy, 1996. "An Empirical Investigation of the Microstructure of Knowledge Acquisition and Transfer Through Learning by Doing," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 44(1), pages 77-86, February.
    9. Peter Thompson, 2001. "How Much Did the Liberty Shipbuilders Learn? New Evidence for an Old Case Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 103-137, February.
    10. 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.
    11. Nijman, T.E. & Verbeek, M.J.C.M., 1992. "Testing for selectivity in panel data models," Other publications TiSEM 7ec34a6c-1d84-4052-971c-d, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Andreas Menzel, 2017. "Knowledge Exchange and Productivity Spill-overs in Bangladeshi Garment Factories," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp607, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    2. Ortego-Marti, Victor, 2017. "Differences in skill loss during unemployment across industries and occupations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 31-33.
    3. Ortego-Marti, Victor, 2017. "Loss of skill during unemployment and TFP differences across countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 215-235.
    4. Serdar Aldatmaz & Paige Ouimet & Edward D Van Wesep, 2014. "The Option To Quit: The Effect Of Employee Stock Options On Turnover," Working Papers 14-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    5. Beneito, Pilar & Rochina-Barrachina, María Engracia & Sanchis, Amparo, 2015. "The path of R&D efficiency over time," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 57-69.
    6. Hockenberry, Jason M. & Helmchen, Lorens A., 2014. "The nature of surgeon human capital depreciation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 70-80.
    7. 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.
    8. Apurba Shee & Spiro E. Stefanou, 2016. "Bounded learning-by-doing and sources of firm level productivity growth in colombian food manufacturing industry," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 185-197, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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