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Learning Effects and the Commercialization of New Energy Technologies: The Case of Nuclear Power

Martin B. Zimmerman
The Bell Journal of Economics
Vol. 13, No. 2 (Autumn, 1982), pp. 297-310
Published by: RAND Corporation
DOI: 10.2307/3003455
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3003455
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Learning Effects and the Commercialization of New Energy Technologies: The Case of Nuclear Power
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Abstract

Recently, attention has been focused on government policy toward commercialization of new energy technologies. Arguments are offered that in the early days of commercialization significant learning externalities that justify subsidy are present. Using nuclear power as a case study, this article estimates the learning effects actually present. The effect of experience on construction cost and on the accuracy of cost estimation is examined. External learning is separated from internalized learning about both construction cost and cost estimation. Finally, an estimate of the value of both kinds of learning externality is provided. The results suggest learning externalities were present, but had little effect on the rate of commercialization.

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