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Monday, February 22, 2021 — 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EST

Can stimulating demand drive costs down? World War II as a natural experiment

Francois Lafond

Senior Research Associate
Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment
University of Oxford
francois.lafond@inet.ox.ac.uk

Via https://zoom.us/j/99632084566?pwd=MXFXRFQ5amJ1MmFRNzR0Y3IyaEFwQT09


Abstract

For many products, increases in cumulative production are associated with decreasing unit costs. However, a serious problem of reverse causality (lower prices leading to increasing demand) makes it difficult to use this relationship for policy. We study World War II, during which the demand for military products was largely exogenous, and the correlation between production, cumulative production and an exogenous time trend was limited. Our results indicate that decreases in cost can be attributed roughly equally to the growth of experience and to an exogenous time trend.

Link to paper: https://www.inet.ox.ac.uk/publications/no-2020-02-can-stimulating-demand-drive-costs-down-world-war-ii-as-a-natural-experiment/

Biographical Sketch

François is a Senior Research Officer and Lead Researcher at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, and deputy director of the Complexity Economics group. He is also an associate member of Nuffield college. He obtained his PhD in economics from UNU-MERIT at the University of Maastricht. His main areas of research are in the economics of innovation and productivity, environmental economics, networks and complex systems, applied econometrics and forecasting.

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