​Data files for "How Much Did the Liberty Shipbuilders Learn? New Evidence for an Old Case Study", Journal of Political Economy109(1):103-137  (February 2001). 


The data are contained in a zipp​​​​ed set of Lotus-123 files. Each major yard has its own file. Documentation of sources can be found as footnotes to each table. 

Files for downloading:

Productivity: Includes USMC hull number; builder's hull number; vessel's original name; vessel type; round of way; way number; date of keel laying; launch date; delivery date; production time in days (on ways, in outfitting, and total); labor requirements (direct, indirect and total); unit production costs (yard costs, proc​urement cost, facilities cost, and administrative cost); fracture class (if any) and date of first major fracture; date of war loss (if applicable). Note that the cost data were produced 1946 to provide benchmarks for post-war auction bids. Total wartime yard expenditure on capital was allocated to each vessel produced according to the time spent in production. The data on facilities costs therefore do not measure contemporaneous flows of capital services used in production.

Employment: Includes monthly data for number of wage earners (total and direct labor); number of salar​ied employees, total employees; total employees engaged on USMC construction; labor turnover rates (total hires per 100 employees, total separations per 100 employees; separations decomposed into quits, fires, layoffs, military and other reasons); average hours per week worked, wages per hour, absentee rate, distribution of employment by shift (Mon-Fri shifts 1,2,3; Saturday employment and Sunday employment). Researchers can find monthly employment data for the remaining yards in G.J. Fischer, "A Statistical Summary of Shipbuilding Under the US Maritime Commission During World War II," [Washington DC: Government Printing Office, USMC, 1949], which is easy to obtain on ILL.

Strikes: Each strike listed by start date, end date, duration, number of workers involved, person days lost, BLS code for cause, BLS descriptor for cause

Inventories: Provides monthly estimates of steel plate inventories in tons and ships worth. Even when available for a yard, the data for the period late 1942 to early 1943 are missing. This makes the data all but useless, as it was precisely during this period that steel shortages may have been affecting productivity.

Capital: Provides data on authorizations for capital investment: contract number, date of approval, date of contract, purpose of investment, and amount.​​


Data files for "Learning from Experience and Learning From Others. An exploration of learning and spillovers in wartime shipbuilding," [with Rebecca Achee Thornton], American Economic Review, 91(5):1350-1368, (December 2001).

​The paper makes use of a highly detailed set of data collected from various sources. The primary sou​rce for this data set was collected from the National Archives. These data were supplemented with information gathered from Ships for Victory by Frederic Lane and A Statistical Summary of Shipbuilding under the U.S. Maritime Commission during World War II by Gerald Fischer.

Two zip files contain worksheets of ship and yard data for Liberty ships and other WWII ships. A third file,"", contains the final dataset used in the paper. These are in lotus-123 format.
Files for downloading:

Data files for "How Much Did the Liberty Shipbuilders Forget?" Management Science, 53(6):908-918 (June 2007).

​This is a simple flat Excel file containing productivity and associated data for WWII Liberty ships.

File for downloading:

Data files for Selection and Firm Survival. Evidence from the Shipbuilding Industry, 1825-1914, Review of Economics and Statistics87(1):26-36, February 2005.​
These dat​​a are​ now archived​ at the FIVE Project on Firm and Industry Evolution. ​In the interests of consistency, the data are no longer being archived on my website.​