Learning by Doing and Plant Characteristics
Learning by doing, especially spillover learning, has received much attention lately in models of industry evolution and economic growth. The predictions of these models depend on the distribution of learning abilities and knowledge flows across firms and countries. However, the empirical literature provides little guidance on these issues. In this paper, I use plant level data on a sample of entrants in SIC 38, Instruments, to examine the characteristics associated with both proprietary and spillover learning by doing. The plant level data permit tests for the relative importance of within and between firm spillovers. I include both formal knowledge, obtained through R&D expenditures, and informal knowledge, obtained through learning by doing, in a production function framework. I allow the speed of learning to vary across plants according to characteristics such as R&D intensity, wages, and the skill mix. The results suggest that (a) Ainformal@ knowledge, accumulated through production experience at the plant, is a much more important source of productivity growth for these plants than is Aformal@ knowledge gained via research and development expenditures, (b) interfirm spillovers are stronger than intrafirm spillovers, (c) the slope of the own learning curve is positively related to worker quality, (d) the slope of the spillover learning curve is positively related to the skill mix at plants, (e) neither own nor spillover learning curve slopes are related to R&D intensities. These results imply that learning by doing may be, to some extent, an endogenous phenomenon at these plants. Thus, models of industry evolution that incorporate learning by doing may need to be revised. The results are also broadly consistent with the recent growth models.
|Date of creation:||Aug 1996|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 4600 Silver Hill Road, Washington, DC 20233|
Phone: (301) 763-6460
Fax: (301) 763-5935
Web page: http://www.census.gov/ces
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- A. M. Spence, 1981. "The Learning Curve and Competition," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(1), pages 49-70, Spring.
- Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984.
"Errors in Variables in Panel Data,"
NBER Technical Working Papers
0037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dunne, Timothy & Haltiwanger, John & Troske, Kenneth R., 1997.
"Technology and jobs: secular changes and cyclical dynamics,"
Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy,
Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 107-178, June.
- Timothy Dunne & John Haltiwanger & Kenneth R. Troske, 1996. "Technology and Jobs: Secular Changes and Cyclical Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 5656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Timothy Dunne & Kenneth R Troske & John Haltiwanger, 1996. "Technology and Jobs: Secular Changes and Cyclical Dynamics," Working Papers 96-7, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1981. "Productivity and R and D at the Firm Level," NBER Working Papers 0826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J. Bradford, 1997.
"Exporters, skill upgrading, and the wage gap,"
Journal of International Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 3-31, February.
- Bradford J Jensen & Andrew B Bernard, 1994. "Exporters, Skill Upgrading And The Wage Gap," Working Papers 94-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Bernard, A.B. & Jensen, J.B., 1994. "Exporters, Skill Upgrading, and the Wage Gap," Working papers 94-30, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- James D Adams & Adam B Jaffe, 1994. "The Span of the Effect of R&D in the Firm and Industry," Working Papers 94-7, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Stokey, Nancy L, 1988.
"Learning by Doing and the Introduction of New Goods,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 701-17, August.
- Nancy L Stokey, 1986. "Learning-by-Doing and the Introduction of New Goods," Discussion Papers 699, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science, revised May 1987.
- Alwyn Young, 1991. "Learning by Doing and the Dynamic Effects of International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 369-405.
- Alwyn Young, 1991. "Learning by Doing and the Dynamic Effects of International Trade," NBER Working Papers 3577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bahk, Byong-Hong & Gort, Michael, 1993. "Decomposing Learning by Doing in New Plants," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 561-83, August.
- 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.
- Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1983. "Learning-by-Doing and Market Performance," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 522-530, Autumn.
- Pankaj Ghemawat & A. Michael Spence, 1985. "Learning Curve Spillovers and Market Performance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(Supplemen), pages 839-852.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:96-5. 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: (Fariha Kamal)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.