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Competitive Diffusion


  • Jovanovic, Boyan
  • MacDonald, Glenn M


This paper studies the evolution of a competitive industry in which a fixed number of firms reduce costs by innovating and by imitating their rivals' technologies. As the firms' technologies gradually improve, industry output expands and price falls. Technological leaders tend to rely on innovations to reduce their costs, whereas the laggards rely more on imitation. Imitation causes technology to spread from the leaders to the followers and forces some convergence of technology among firms as the industry matures. This convergence is accompanied by faster growth of smaller firms and a consequent tightening of the distribution of output over firms. Copyright 1994 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Jovanovic, Boyan & MacDonald, Glenn M, 1994. "Competitive Diffusion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 24-52, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:102:y:1994:i:1:p:24-52

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Boyan Jovanovic & Rafael Rob, 1989. "The Growth and Diffusion of Knowledge," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 569-582.
    2. Andolfatto, D. & MacDonald, G.M., 1995. "Endogeneous Technological Change, Growth, and Aggregate Functions," Working Papers 9504, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics.
    3. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    4. Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 324-340, Autumn.
    5. Mansfield, Edwin & Schwartz, Mark & Wagner, Samuel, 1981. "Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 907-918, December.
    6. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1962. "The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 155-173.
    7. Spence, Michael, 1984. "Cost Reduction, Competition, and Industry Performance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 101-121, January.
    8. Chari, V V & Hopenhayn, Hugo, 1991. "Vintage Human Capital, Growth, and the Diffusion of New Technology," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1142-1165, December.
    9. Karl Shell, 2010. "A Model of Inventive Activity and Capital Accumulation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1409, David K. Levine.
    10. Gort, Michael & Klepper, Steven, 1982. "Time Paths in the Diffusion of Product Innovations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 630-653, September.
    11. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    JEL classification:

    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance


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