Competition, cooperation, and the neighboring farmer effect
In this paper we propose a model that explains how cooperation can emerge spontaneously between firms in a highly competitive market environment. The basic idea is that the more competitive is the market, the less costly it is for firms to help each other like good neighbors. Cooperation takes the form of sharing technical know-how, which speeds up the adoption of new technologies (normally developed elsewhere) that spur industrial development. The model comports with the development history of Japan's first example of successful industrial development - its cotton spinning industry - whose conditions match those of firms in small open economies today.
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