Productivity, Technology and Efficiency in the U.S Commercial Airline Industry

Part of the Transportation Research, Economics and Policy book series (TRES)


Empirical industry studies too often fall into one of two categories. They may be rich in institutional information and lack generalizability, or heavy in measurement technique, and weak in relevance because little institutional information informs the generalizations. The organization of the professional literature contributes somewhat to the problem in two ways: the general preference for theoretical papers, and the tendencies for journals to specialize in quantitative or qualitative exposition. A mixed paper may well be redirected to an outlet of the “other” type by these journals. The journals that stress quantitative analysis tend to prefer short papers, and have little tolerance for discussion of institutional effects, while the more institutional journals discourage the elaborate quantitative models that may be required to adjust for institutional realities. The quantitative-institutional war should be resolvable by the observation that the technological environment of an enterprise or industry is part of its institutional setting, and that complex industries and technologies cannot be understood in abstraction from the quantitative effects of its institutions on performance. However, academic institutions and practice seem often to be divided along similar lines, so that the relevance of industry studies for technology management is less than it could be.


Technological Change Fuel Price Specific Fuel Consumption Airline Industry Shadow Cost 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Norsworthy, J.R. and Jang, S.L. (1992) Empirical Analysis of Technology and Productivity in High Technology and Service Industries, North Holland, USA.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Pitt, I.L. (1991) Technological Change and Investment in Commercial Aircraft, unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    See U.S. General Accounting Office, Testimony, (February 1991) U.S. Airlines: Weak Financial Structure Threatens Competition, Washington, D.C. GAO/T-RCED-91-6.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    USAir is now known as USAirways. We will continue to use USAir since that was what the carrier was known as during the period of our study of 1970-1992.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    ibid., pp. 1-5.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    ibid., pp. 10-13.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    ibid., pp. 1-24.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    ibid., p. 8.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    ibid., pp. 15-16.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    U.S. Department of Commerce (1986) A Competitive Assessment of the U.S. Civil Aircraft Industry, Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, pp. 61–9Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Norsworthy and Jang (1992).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    U.S. Department of Commerce (1986), pp. 61-98.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Norsworthy, J.R. and Tsai, D. (1998) Macroeconomic Policy as Implicit Industrial Policy, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
  15. 15.
    Pickrell, D. (1991) “The Regulation and Deregulation of U.S. Airlines” in Airline DeregulationInternational Experiences, K. Button (ed.), New York University Press, New York, p. 15.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Science and Technology PolicyRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA
  2. 2.Lally School of Management and TechnologyRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA

Personalised recommendations