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The Influence of Innovation and Imitation on Economic Performance

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  • S Geisendorf
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    Abstract

    The importance of innovation and imitation for the economy is discussed in different branches of economic theory. Some study the macro, others the micro level. Macroeconomic theories, concerned with technological progress do not explicitly distinguish between innovation and imitation. Microeconomic case studies, examine the advantage of one strategy over the other for individual firms, but do not study the macroeconomic effects. The present paper attempts to close this gap by proposing a model capturing the innovative and imitative activity on the micro level and the resulting performance on the macro level. This is done on the basis of a multi-agent simulation. The model gives a comprehensive picture of an evolving economy over time, first because it depicts the interplay of innovation and imitation and second because the agents are placed in a changing economic landscape, forcing them to discover new products. Apart from detecting a predominant strategy, the model shows to what extent the strategies depend on each other. A main result is that the significance of innovation is overemphasised in some parts of the literature. Imitation is the more important strategy, but it is actually the right mixture with a large proportion of imitation that is advancing an economy.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Economic Issues in its journal Economic Issues.

    Volume (Year): 14 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 65-94

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    Handle: RePEc:eis:articl:109geisendorf

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    Web page: http://www.economicissues.org.uk
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    1. Arifovic, Jasmina, 1994. "Genetic algorithm learning and the cobweb model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 3-28, January.
    2. Silverberg, Gerald & Dosi, Giovanni & Orsenigo, Luigi, 1988. "Innovation, Diversity and Diffusion: A Self-organisation Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(393), pages 1032-54, December.
    3. Paul M. Romer, 1994. "The Origins of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 3-22, Winter.
    4. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Antonio Guarino & Piero Tedeschi, 2006. "Endogenous Knowledge Spillovers and Labor Mobility in Industrial Clusters," Working Papers 20060507, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Dipartimento di Statistica.
    6. Romer, Paul M, 1987. "Growth Based on Increasing Returns Due to Specialization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 56-62, May.
    7. Howard Pack, 1994. "Endogenous Growth Theory: Intellectual Appeal and Empirical Shortcomings," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 55-72, Winter.
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