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EH.R: FORUM: Path Dependence
================= EH.RES POSTING ================= I am still fixated on QWERTY. Suppose a typist has $10 000 in human capital invested in QWERTY, and on this s/he makes a return of $1 000. Conversion to Dvorak will entail a once and for all cost of $250. After that conversion the typist will make an annual return of $11 000. (Recall that Dvorak is supposedly a more productive system than QWERTY, so for the same amount of time the typist will make more.) Profit seekers will know that it is in there self interest to adopt Dvorak. Now, if the cost of acquiring Dvorak is higher (but less than that of acquiring QWERTY-Dvorak is supposedly a simpler system to use) then it may be the case that some current typists will not convert, but ALL new typists will convert (computer programs that convert QWERTY to Dvorak are cheap, as are Dvorak keyboards). So, why has there not been a mass of (new) typists using Dvorak? My suspicion is that the QWERTY/Dvorak story is similar to the Fable of the Bees. Economists used to find externalities in the nexus between beekeeping and the pollination of crops, until Cheung actually investigated the beekeeping industry and found all sorts of market arrangements between agriculturalists and apiarists. Examples are always nice because they solidify thinking, but if the examples are incorrect we may be putting on concrete boots on our thinking. So, why hasn't the personal computer led to a noticeable shift to Dvorak, or has it? Philip Coelho. ============ FOOTER TO EH.RES POSTING ============ For information, send the message "info EH.RES" to email@example.com. >