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Competitive Diffusion

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Author Info

  • Jovanovic, B.
  • MacDonald, G.M.

Abstract

The usual explanation for why the producers of a given product use different technologies involves "vintage-capital": A firm understands the frontier technology, but can still prefer an older, less efficient technology in which it has made specific physical and human capital investments. This paper develops an alternative. "information-barrier" hypothesis: Firms differ in the technologies they use because it is costly for them to overcome the informational barriers that separate them. The paper endogenizes both innovative and imitative effort. The industry life-cycle implications -- declining price and increasing output -- broadly agree with the Gort-Klepper data. Empirically, the paper focuses on the slow spread of Diesel locomotives, which can not be explained by the vintage-capital hypothesis alone. For instance, contrary to that hypothesis, railroads were buying new steam locomotives long after the Diesel first came into use -- exactly as the information-barrier hypothesis would imply.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Rochester, Business - Financial Research and Policy Studies in its series Papers with number 92-08.

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Length: 71 pages
Date of creation: 1991
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:robufr:92-08

Contact details of provider:
Postal: UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER, WILLIAM E. SIMON GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, Bradley Policy Research Center, ROCHESTER NEW YORK 14627 U.S.A.
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Web page: http://www.simon.rochester.edu/
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Related research

Keywords: competition ; economic models ; prices;

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References

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  1. Andolfatto, D. & MacDonald, G.M., 1995. "Endogeneous Technological Change, Growth, and Aggregate Functions," Working Papers 9504, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics.
  2. Gort, Michael & Klepper, Steven, 1982. "Time Paths in the Diffusion of Product Innovations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 630-53, September.
  3. Mansfield, Edwin & Schwartz, Mark & Wagner, Samuel, 1981. "Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 907-18, December.
  4. Karl Shell, 2010. "A Model of Inventive Activity and Capital Accumulation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1409, David K. Levine.
  5. Jovanovic, Boyan & Rob, Rafael, 1989. "The Growth and Diffusion of Knowledge," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(4), pages 569-82, October.
  6. Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Discussion Papers 471, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Chari, V V & Hopenhayn, Hugo, 1991. "Vintage Human Capital, Growth, and the Diffusion of New Technology," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1142-65, December.
  8. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
  9. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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