IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Learning by Doing, Knowledge Spillovers, and Technological and Organizational Change in High-Altitude Mountaineering

Listed author(s):
  • John R. Boyce

    (Department of Economics, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada,

  • Diane P. Bischak

    (Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada)

Registered author(s):

    We present an analysis of microlevel data from mountaineering on the 14 peaks over 8,000 m in height during the period 1895-1998. Prior to 1950, no expedition was successful in making an ascent and almost half of expeditions experienced a death, frostbite, or altitude sickness. By the 1990s, however, over half of the expeditions would successfully make an ascent and only about one in seven would experience an adverse outcome. Our objective is to distinguish between the effects of learning by doing and knowledge spillovers versus the effects of changes in technology or economic organization in explaining these results. As we can identify each climber by name and nationality, as well as each expedition team's methods and outcomes, we are able to disentangle the effects of learning at the individual, national, and international levels from effects due to improvements in climbing technology or changes in organizational methods and objectives. We find evidence that both individual learning by doing and learning through knowledge spillovers have contributed to the observed increase in ascent rates and to the decrease in death, frostbite, and altitude sickness rates.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by in its journal Journal of Sports Economics.

    Volume (Year): 11 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 5 (October)
    Pages: 496-532

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:sae:jospec:v:11:y:2010:i:5:p:496-532
    Contact details of provider:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:jospec:v:11:y:2010:i:5:p:496-532. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.