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How Much Did the Liberty Shipbuilders Forget?

  • Peter Thompson

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Florida International University, Miami, Florida 33199)

This paper produces new estimates of the rate of organizational forgetting in the well-known case study of U.S. wartime ship production. Estimates obtained using data constructed from primary sources at the National Archives yield rates of forgetting that are much smaller than previously reported, and may well be zero. The richness of the data makes it possible to control for variations in the product mix, to explore alternative formulations for the learning curve, and to investigate the relationship between organizational forgetting and labor turnover.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1060.0678
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Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 53 (2007)
Issue (Month): 6 (June)
Pages: 908-918

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:53:y:2007:i:6:p:908-918
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  1. Philip Auerswald & Stuart Kauffman & Jose Lobo & Karl Shell, 1998. "The Production Recipes Approach to Modeling Technological Innovation: An Application to Learning By Doing," Working Papers 98-11-100, Santa Fe Institute.
  2. Peter Thompson, 1997. "How Much Did the Liberty Shipbuilders Learn? New Evidence for an Old Case Study," Development and Comp Systems 9712001, EconWPA.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. John F. Muth, 1986. "Search Theory and the Manufacturing Progress Function," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(8), pages 948-962, August.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Epple, D. & Argote, L. & Murphy, K., 1995. "An Empiraical Investigation of the Micro Structure of Knowledge Acquisition and Transfer Through Learning by Doing," GSIA Working Papers 1995-17, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  9. Epple, D. & Argote, L. & Darr, E.D., 1995. "The Acquisition, Transfer and Depreciation of Knowledge in Service Organisations: Productivity in Franchises," GSIA Working Papers 1995-16, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  10. Irwin, Douglas A & Klenow, Peter J, 1994. "Learning-by-Doing Spillovers in the Semiconductor Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1200-1227, December.
  11. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
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