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11-6-09 - Economics 448 Class Notes To prepare for the exam...

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Economics 448 – Class Notes – 11/6/09 To prepare for the exam Class notes Articles Old exams David, Paul – QWERTY: Path dependence Non-ergodic – the world doesn’t repeat itself. The world is evolving. What happened yesterday will affect what happens today and in the future. Paul David – critique of modern day economics – economic historian – we need to understand economic history in order to understand the present (problems) Typewriter 1867: Christopher Latham Sholes in 52 nd man to invent typewriter. Printing point was located under the paper carriage. 1867-`1873: Sholes tries to perfect his typewriter (along with lotsw and lots of other guys trying to perfect theirs) 1873: sold the rights to the typewriter to Remington, the arms manufacturer Several keyboard layouts DIFFERENT KEYBOARDS: 1. DHIATENSOR keyboard 2. DVORAK keyboard 3. QWERTY keyboard Why do we end up with the QWERTY keyboard instead of the two keyboards seen above?
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Forces that influence the investments and path dependence: 1. Quasi - irreversibility of investment – it’s too costly * You would you invest in the training that the everyone else already invested in * It could be that the DHIATENSOR keyboard could allow you to type faster, but no one is supporting that and thus you won’t use it because it’s too costly. Two decisions (investments) needed to be made, and it was rare that one person had to make both decisions: - what human capital skills to acquire? - What type of typewriter to buy? (Done by business owners). Interrelatenedsness of the investment decisions of the company and the employees Examples : 1. keyboards 2. computer programming languages 3. computer software – transferrable skills, but not perfectly transferrable 2. System Scale Economies – NETWORK EXTERNALITIES * The number of people using a good affects your utility from buying the good.
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