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Better Late Than Early: Vertical Differentiation in the Adoption of a New Technology

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  • Prajit K. Dutta
  • Saul Lach
  • Aldo Rustichini

Abstract

After the initial breakthrough in the research phase of R&D a new product undergoes a process of change, improvement and adaptation to market conditions. We model the strategic behavior of firms in this development phase of R&D. We emphasize that a key dimension to this competition is the innovations that lead to product differentiation and quality improvement. In a duopoly model with a single adoption choice, we derive endogeneously the level and diversity of product innovations. We demonstrate the existence of equilibria in which one firm enters early with a low quality product while the other continues to develop the technology and eventually markets a high quality good. In such an equilibrium, no monopoly rent is dissipated and the later innovator makes more profits. Incumbent firms may well be the early innovators, contrary to the predictions of the hypothesis.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4473.

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Date of creation: Sep 1993
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Publication status: published as Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, vol. 4, no. 4, Winter 1995, pp.563-589.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4473

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  1. Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1989. "A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 8904, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  2. Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1983. "Uncertain Innovation and the Persistence of Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 741-48, September.
  3. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dutta, P.K. & Rustichini, A., 1991. "A Theory of Stopping Time Games with Applications to Product Innovations and Asset Sales," Discussion Papers 1991_35, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  5. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1989. "Quality Ladders in the Theory of Growth," NBER Working Papers 3099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1987. "R&D Rivalry with Licensing or Imitation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 402-20, June.
  7. Prajit K. Dutta, 1990. "Innovation and Product Differentiation," Discussion Papers 894, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. repec:fth:coluec:484 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1989. "Quality Ladders and Product Cycles," NBER Working Papers 3201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Reinganum, Jennifer F., . "On the Diffusion of New Technology: A Game Theoretic Approach," Working Papers 312, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  11. Gilbert, Richard J & Newbery, David M G, 1982. "Preemptive Patenting and the Persistence of Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 514-26, June.
  12. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13, January.
  13. Curtis Eaton, B. & Lipsey, Richard G., 1989. "Product differentiation," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 723-768 Elsevier.
  14. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1985. "Preemption and Rent Equilization in the Adoption of New Technology," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 383-401, July.
  15. Segerstrom, Paul S & Anant, T C A & Dinopoulos, Elias, 1990. "A Schumpeterian Model of the Product Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1077-91, December.
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