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Optimal investment in learning-curve technologies

  • Della Seta, Marco
  • Gryglewicz, Sebastian
  • Kort, Peter M.

We study optimal investment in technologies characterized by the learning curve. There are two investment patterns depending on the shape of the learning curve. If the learning process is slow, firms invest relatively late and on a larger scale. If the curve is steep, firms invest earlier and on a smaller scale. We further demonstrate that learning investment differs greatly from investment in technologies without learning effects. Learning investments generate substantial initial losses and are very sensitive to downside risk. We show that the most susceptible to losses and risk are technologies with intermediate speed of learning.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Volume (Year): 36 (2012)
Issue (Month): 10 ()
Pages: 1462-1476

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Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:36:y:2012:i:10:p:1462-1476
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jedc

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  1. A. M. Spence, 1981. "The Learning Curve and Competition," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(1), pages 49-70, Spring.
  2. Linda Argote & Sara L. Beckman & Dennis Epple, 1990. "The Persistence and Transfer of Learning in Industrial Settings," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(2), pages 140-154, February.
  3. Cabral, Luis M B & Riordan, Michael H, 1994. "The Learning Curve, Market Dominance, and Predatory Pricing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 1115-40, September.
  4. Capozza, Dennis & Li, Yuming, 1994. "The Intensity and Timing of Investment: The Case of Land," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 889-904, September.
  5. Bar-Ilan, Avner & Strange, William C., 1999. "The Timing and Intensity of Investment," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 57-77, January.
  6. Auerswald, Philip & Kauffman, Stuart & Lobo, Jose & Shell, Karl, 2000. "The production recipes approach to modeling technological innovation: An application to learning by doing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 389-450, March.
  7. Dasgupta, Partha & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1985. "Learning-by-doing, Market Structure and Industrial and Trade Policies," CEPR Discussion Papers 80, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Pindyck, Robert S., 1986. "Irreversible investment, capacity choice, and the value of the firm," Working papers 1802-86., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  9. 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.
  10. Martin B. Zimmerman, 1982. "Learning Effects and the Commercialization of New Energy Technologies: The Case of Nuclear Power," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 297-310, Autumn.
  11. Brueckner, Jan K. & Raymon, Neil, 1983. "Optimal production with learning by doing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 127-135, September.
  12. Dangl, Thomas, 1999. "Investment and capacity choice under uncertain demand," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 415-428, September.
  13. Eric D. Darr & Linda Argote & Dennis Epple, 1995. "The Acquisition, Transfer, and Depreciation of Knowledge in Service Organizations: Productivity in Franchises," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(11), pages 1750-1762, November.
  14. David Besanko & Ulrich Doraszelski & Yaroslav Kryukov & Mark Satterthwaite, 2010. "Learning-by-Doing, Organizational Forgetting, and Industry Dynamics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(2), pages 453-508, 03.
  15. Dutta, J. & Prasad, K., 1993. "Learning by Observation within the Firm," Papers 187, Cambridge - Risk, Information & Quantity Signals.
  16. 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.
  17. Cabral, Luis M B & Riordan, Michael H, 1997. "The Learning Curve, Predation, Antitrust, and Welfare," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 155-69, June.
  18. Manu Goyal & Serguei Netessine, 2007. "Strategic Technology Choice and Capacity Investment Under Demand Uncertainty," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(2), pages 192-207, February.
  19. repec:fiu:wpaper:0806 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. 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.
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