Principals, Agents, and the Learning Curve: The Case of Steam-Electric Power Plant Design and Construction
A number of factors, including design variation and the combination of uncertain costs and cost-plus contracting, diminished opportunities and incentives to improve power plant design and construction over the last several decades. This paper incorporates these factors into a model of learning that relies on a principal-agent framework. The author finds that, because of design variation, learning was reduced when an agent contracted with a series of different principals; agent learning declined when cost uncertainty increased during the late 1970s and 1980s; and, at the same time, the locus of learning may have shifted from agents to principals. Copyright 1996 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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Volume (Year): 44 (1996)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
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