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Competition and innovation: does the distance to the technology frontier matter?

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  • Simon Alder

Abstract

This paper provides new evidence on the relationship between innovation, competition and distance to the technology frontier, using enterprise surveys from 40 developing and transition countries. Different from previous empirical studies, the distance to frontier is measured by a firm's technology level relative to its main competitor. This self-reported comparison allows to capture a crucial determinant of a firm's business strategy and its response to competition. The findings from the empirical analysis are as follows. Firstly, firms with more advanced technology compared to their main competitors have more product innovations. Secondly, there is evidence that innovation and competition are more positively correlated at low levels of competition than at high levels. With some measures of competition, the correlation is highest at intermediate levels of competition, which suggests an inverted-U relationship. Thirdly, in certain specifications, competition is most positively correlated with product innovation when a firm is more advanced than its main competitor. In other cases, this correlation is strongest for firms that are at the same technology level as their competitors. However, the differences in the correlations between more and less advanced firms are not always significant.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 493.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:493

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Keywords: Market structure; competition; innovation; technology adaption; growth;

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References

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  1. Alexander Coad, 2008. "Distance to Frontier and Appropriate Business Strategy," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2008-07, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  2. Philippe Aghion & Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & Peter Howitt & Susanne Prantl, 2009. "The Effects of Entry on Incumbent Innovation and Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 20-32, February.
  3. Carlin, Wendy & Schaffer, Mark & Seabright, Paul, 2004. "A Minimum of Rivalry : Evidence from Transition Economies on the Importance of Competition for Innovation and Growth," IDEI Working Papers 272, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  4. Blundell, Richard & Griffith, Rachel & van Reenen, John, 1999. "Market Share, Market Value and Innovation in a Panel of British Manufacturing Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(3), pages 529-54, July.
  5. Rita Almeida & Ana Margarida Fernandes, 2008. "Openness and Technological Innovations in Developing Countries: Evidence from Firm-Level Surveys," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(5), pages 701-727.
  6. Philippe Aghion & Nicholas Bloom & Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & Peter Howitt, 2002. "Competition and Innovation: An Inverted U Relationship," NBER Working Papers 9269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  8. Bartelsman, Eric J & Haskel, Jonathan & Martin, Ralf, 2008. "Distance to Which Frontier? Evidence on Productivity Convergence from International Firm-level Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 7032, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Cited by:
  1. Curzi, Daniele & Raimondi, Valentina & Olper, Alessandro, 2013. "Quality Upgrading, Competition and Trade Policy: Evidence from the Agri-Food Sector," Proceedings Issues, 2013: Productivity and Its Impacts on Global Trade, June 2-4, 2013. Seville, Spain 152386, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
  2. Michael Peneder & Martin Woerter, 2014. "Competition, R&D and innovation: testing the inverted-U in a simultaneous system," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 653-687, July.

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