AbstractThe 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 InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4463.
Date of creation: Apr 1994
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Other versions of this item:
- Jovanovic, B. & Macdonald, G.M., 1988. "Competitive Diffusion," RCER Working Papers 160, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- Jovanovic, B. & MacDonald, G.M., 1991. "Competitive Diffusion," Papers 92-08, Rochester, Business - Financial Research and Policy Studies.
- Jovanovic, Boyan & MacDonald, Glenn M., 1988. "Competitive Diffusion," Working Papers 88-29, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
- L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
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