IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cen/wpaper/96-5.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Learning by Doing and Plant Characteristics

Author

Listed:
  • Ron Jarmin

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ron Jarmin, 1996. "Learning by Doing and Plant Characteristics," Working Papers 96-5, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:96-5
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/1996/CES-WP-96-05.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. 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 701-717, August.
    3. 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 561-583, August.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
    9. 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.
    10. Alwyn Young, 1991. "Learning by Doing and the Dynamic Effects of International Trade," NBER Working Papers 3577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1981. "Productivity and R and D at the Firm Level," NBER Working Papers 0826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. A. M. Spence, 1981. "The Learning Curve and Competition," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(1), pages 49-70, Spring.
    13. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. C J Krizan, 1998. "Industrial Spillovers in Developing Countries: Plant-level Evidence From Chile, Mexico, and Morocco," Working Papers 98-1, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Jim Bessen, 1997. "Productivity Adjustments and Learning-by-Doing as Human Capital," Working Papers 97-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    3. Bradford J Jensen & Ron Jarmin, 1997. "Measuring The Performance Of Government Technology Programs: Lessons From Manufacturing Extension," Working Papers 97-18, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    CES; economic; research; micro; data; microdata; chief; economist;

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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: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: (Erica Coates). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cesgvus.html .

    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.