NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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T. Robert Fetter

Nicholas Institute
Box 90335
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Durham, NC 27708

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Institutional Affiliation: Duke University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2018Learning by Viewing? Social Learning, Regulatory Disclosure, and Firm Productivity in Shale Gas
with Andrew L. Steck, Christopher Timmins, Douglas Wrenn: w25401
In many industries firms can learn about new technologies from other adopters; mandatory disclosure regulations represent an understudied channel for this type of social learning. We study an environmentally-focused law in the shale gas industry to examine firms’ claims that disclosure requirements expose valuable trade secrets. Our research design takes advantage of a unique regulatory history that allows us to see complete information on chemical inputs prior to disclosure, along with the timing of information availability for thousands of wells after disclosure takes effect. We find that firms’ chemical choices following disclosure converge in a manner consistent with inter-firm imitation and that this leads to more productive wells for firms that carefully choose whom to copy — but als...

Published: Theodore Robert Fetter & Andrew Steck & Christopher Timmins & Douglas Wrenn, 2017. "Learning by Viewing? Social Learning, Regulatory Disclosure and Firm Productivity in Shale Gas," Academy of Management Proceedings, vol 2017(1).

 
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