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Toward an Understanding of Learning by Doing: Evidence from an Automobile Plant

Steven Levitt (), John List () and Chad Syverson

Natural Field Experiments from The Field Experiments Website

Abstract: Productivity improvements within establishments (e.g., factories, mines, or retail stores) are an important source of aggregate productivity growth. Past research has documented that learning by doing-productivity improvements that occur in concert with production increases-is one source of such improvements. Yet little is known about the specific mechanisms through which such learning occurs. We address this question using extremely detailed data from an assembly plant of a major auto producer. Beyond showing that there is rapid learning by doing at the plant, we are able to pinpoint the processes by which these improvements have occurred.

Date: 2012
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