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Principals, Agents, and the Learning Curve: The Case of Steam-Electric Power Plant Design and Construction

  • McCabe, Mark J
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    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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    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Industrial Economics.

    Volume (Year): 44 (1996)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 357-75

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jindec:v:44:y:1996:i:4:p:357-75
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