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Income inequalities and innovation by incumbents

  • Helene LATZER

    ()

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))

Our paper presents a new rationale for innovation by incumbents. We show that the possibility to price-discriminate between consumers having different levels of wealth is a sufficient incentive for the industry leader to overcome the Arrow (1962) effect and keep investing in R&D, even in the absence of any incumbent advantage in the R&D field. We model an economy composed of two distinct groups of consumers, differing in their wealth endowment and subject to non-homothetic preferences, obtained through unit consumption of the quality good. We demonstrate that in such a framework, there exists a unique steady state equilibrium with positive innovation rates of both incumbents and challengers. Beyond its novelty, this result then also allows us to analyze the effect of the extent of income inequalities on both the challenger and incumbent innovation rates, and by extension on the economic growth rate. We demonstrate that a higher share of the population being poor is detrimental to the rate of economic growth, while a redistribution of wealth from rich to poor consumers increases the challenger innovation rate and has ambiguous effects on the incumbent’s investment in R&D.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) in its series Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) with number 2010002.

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Length: 30
Date of creation: 02 Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2010002
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  1. Josef Zweimueller, . "Schumpeterian Entrepreneurs Meet Engel's Law: The Impact of Inequality on Innovation-Driven Growth," IEW - Working Papers 009, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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  3. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2003. "Economic Growth, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262025531, June.
  4. Eckel, Carsten & Neary, J. P., 2010. "Multi-product firms and flexible manufacturing in the global economy," Munich Reprints in Economics 20525, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Foellmi, Reto & Zweimüller, Josef, 2005. "Income Distribution and Demand-Induced Innovations," CEPR Discussion Papers 4985, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Pablo D. Fajgelbaum, 2011. "Income Distribution, Product Quality and International Trade," 2011 Meeting Papers 415, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Pablo Fajgelbaum & Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2011. "Income Distribution, Product Quality, and International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(4), pages 721 - 765.
  8. Cozzi Guido, 2007. "The Arrow Effect under Competitive R&D," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-20, January.
  9. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  10. Minniti, Antonio, 2006. "Multi-Product Firms, R&D, and Growth," MPRA Paper 2097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Vincenzo Denicolò & Piercarlo Zanchettin, 2010. "Leadership Cycles," Working Papers 2010.35, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  12. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. 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.
  14. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13, January.
  15. Federico Etro, 2004. "Innovation by leaders," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 281-303, 04.
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