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Learning Effects and the Commercialization of New Energy Technologies: The Case of Nuclear Power

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  • Martin B. Zimmerman

Abstract

Recently, attention has been focused on government policy toward commercialization of new energy technologies. Arguments are offered that in the early days of commercialization significant learning externalities that justify subsidy are present. Using nuclear power as a case study, this article estimates the learning effects actually present. The effect of experience on construction cost and on the accuracy of cost estimation is examined. External learning is separated from internalized learning about both construction cost and cost estimation. Finally, an estimate of the value of both kinds of learning externality is provided. The results suggest learning externalities were present, but had little effect on the rate of commercialization.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:13:y:1982:i:autumn:p:297-310
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