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Disagreements, Spinoffs, and the Evolution of Detroit as the Capital of the U.S. Automobile Industry

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  • Steven Klepper

    () (Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213)

Abstract

The agglomeration of the automobile industry around Detroit, Michigan is explained using a theory in which disagreements lead employees of incumbent firms to found spinoffs in the same industry. Predictions of the theory concerning entry and firm survival are tested using data on the origin, location, and years of production of every entrant into the industry from 1895 to 1966. The geographic concentration of the industry is attributed to four early successful entrants and the many successful spinoffs they spawned in the Detroit area and not to conventional agglomeration economies benefiting co-located firms, as featured in modern theories of agglomeration. Implications of the findings regarding firm strategy are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Klepper, 2007. "Disagreements, Spinoffs, and the Evolution of Detroit as the Capital of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(4), pages 616-631, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:53:y:2007:i:4:p:616-631
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1060.0683
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Guido Buenstorf & Steven Klepper, 2009. "Heritage and Agglomeration: The Akron Tyre Cluster Revisited," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 705-733, April.
    2. Bruno Cassiman & Masako Ueda, 2006. "Optimal Project Rejection and New Firm Start-ups," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(2), pages 262-275, February.
    3. Ellison, Glenn & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(5), pages 889-927, October.
    4. Figueiredo, Octavio & Guimaraes, Paulo & Woodward, Douglas, 2002. "Home-field advantage: location decisions of Portuguese entrepreneurs," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 341-361, September.
    5. Paul Almeida & Bruce Kogut, 1999. "Localization of Knowledge and the Mobility of Engineers in Regional Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(7), pages 905-917, July.
    6. Steven Klepper, 2002. "Firm Survival and the Evolution of Oligopoly," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(1), pages 37-61, Spring.
    7. Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni, 2003. "Mobility and Social Networks: Localised Knowledge Spillovers Revisited," KITeS Working Papers 142, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Mar 2003.
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