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The cost-quantity relations and the diverse patterns of “learning by doing”: Evidence from India

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  • Dosi, Giovanni
  • Grazzi, Marco
  • Mathew, Nanditha

Abstract

“Learning-by-doing” is usually identified as a process whereby performance increases with experience in production. Of course such form of learning is complementary to other patterns of capability accumulation. Still, it is fundamental to assess its importance in the process of development. The paper investigates different patterns of “learning by doing”, studying learning curves at product level in a catching-up country, India. Cost-quantity relationships differ a lot across products belonging to sectors with different “technological intensities”. We find also, puzzlingly, in quite a few cases, that the relation price/cumulative quantities is increasing. We conjecture that this is in fact due to quality improvement and ‘vertical’ product differentiation. Circumstantial evidence rests on the ways differential learning patterns are affected by firm spending on research and capital investments. Finally, our evidence suggests that “learning”, or performance improvement over time is not just a by-product of the mere repetition of the same production activities, as sometimes reported in previous studies, but rather it seems to be shaped by deliberate firm learning efforts.

Suggested Citation

  • Dosi, Giovanni & Grazzi, Marco & Mathew, Nanditha, 2017. "The cost-quantity relations and the diverse patterns of “learning by doing”: Evidence from India," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1873-1886.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:10:p:1873-1886
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2017.09.005
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    4. Giovanni Dosi & Nanditha Mathew & Emanuele Pugliese, 2019. "What a firm produces matters: diversification, coherence and performance of Indian manufacturing firms," LEM Papers Series 2019/10, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    5. Arie Y Lewin & Silvia Massini & Carine Peeters, 2020. "Absorptive capacity, socially enabling mechanisms, and the role of learning from trial and error experiments: A tribute to Dan Levinthal’s contribution to international business research," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 51(9), pages 1568-1579, December.
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    12. Salvador Pueyo, 2019. "Limits to green growth and the dynamics of innovation," Papers 1904.09586, arXiv.org, revised May 2019.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Learning-by-doing; Learning curves; Product innovation; Process innovation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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