IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Economics of Business Learning: The Need for Broader Perspectives in Managerial Economics


  • Tisdell, Clement A.


While most textbooks in managerial economics now give some coverage to business learning, and this is to be welcomed, their coverage of business learning is limited to a consideration of increases in productivity or cost reductions. Supply-side bias exists. The coverage of leading texts is reviewed. It is found that no attention is given to the underlying sources of business learning nor to phases of such learning. The ‘start-up’ phase, for example, is not specifically mentioned. Connections with productivity progress are not well explored and the possibility that business learning may depend on the duration of learning as well as the cumulative output of a business is not considered. The duration of learning is treated as an important variable in learning models developed in this paper. These models make it easier to distinguish between effects of learning on productivity or costs, and scale economies. It is also argued that more attention should be given to learning patterns of existing businesses for a change of their technique or major alteration of their product. Models, some of which involve a degree of ‘lock-in’ to existing techniques, are outlined for this purpose. In addition, other neglected microeconomic aspects of learning are considered. Lack of attention in managerial economics to learning about markets is seen as a grave shortcoming. More attention ought to be given to the alternative strategies available to a business for learning and aspects of motivation and activation for learning should not be neglected. It is then observed that the theory of optimal transfer pricing in multi-divisional firms makes no allowance for learning by the divisions. If learning is important, this is a further shortcoming.

Suggested Citation

  • Tisdell, Clement A., 2004. "Economics of Business Learning: The Need for Broader Perspectives in Managerial Economics," Economic Theory, Applications and Issues Working Papers 90532, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uqseet:90532

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tisdell, Clement A. & Alauddin, Mohammad, 2002. "Market-Oriented Reforms in Bangladesh and their Impact on Poverty?," Economic Theory, Applications and Issues Working Papers 90521, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:uqseet:90532. 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: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.