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Price setting in an innovative market

  • Adam Copeland
  • Adam Hale Shapiro

We examine how the confluence of competition and upstream innovation influences downstream firms’ profit-maximizing strategies. In particular, we analyze how, in light of these forces, the downstream firm sets the price of the product over its life cycle. We focus on personal computers (PCs) and introduce two novel data sets that describe prices and sales in the industry. Our main result is that a vintage-capital model that combines a competitive market structure with a rapid rate of innovation is well able to explain the observed paths of prices, as well as sales and consumer income, over a typical PC’s product cycle. The analysis implies that rapid price declines are not caused by upstream innovation alone, but rather by the combination of upstream innovation and a competitive environment.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2013-04.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2013-04
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  1. Harris, Christopher & Howitt, Peter & Vickers, John & Aghion, Philippe, 2001. "Competition, Imitation and Growth with Step-by-Step Innovation," Scholarly Articles 12375013, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Kristopher S. Gerardi & Adam Hale Shapiro, 2009. "Does Competition Reduce Price Dispersion? New Evidence from the Airline Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(1), pages 1-37, 02.
  3. Hashmi, Aamir Rafique & Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2012. "The Relationship between Market Structure and Innovation in Industry Equilibrium: A Case Study of the Global Automobile Industry," CEPR Discussion Papers 8783, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Gautam Gowrisankaran & Marc Rysman, 2007. "Dynamics of Consumer Demand for New Durable Goods," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2007-024, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  5. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13, January.
  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. Timothy Erickson & Ariel Pakes, 2008. "An Experimental Component Index for the CPI: From Annual Computer Data to Monthly Data on Other Goods," NBER Working Papers 14368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ana Aizcorbe & Samuel Kortum, 2004. "Moore's Law and the Semiconductor Industry: A Vintage Model," Industrial Organization 0412008, EconWPA.
  9. Adam Hale Shapiro & Ana Aizcorbe, 2010. "Implications of Consumer Heterogeneity on Price Measures for Technology Goods," BEA Working Papers 0062, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  10. Ernst R. Berndt & Neal J. Rappaport, 2001. "Price and Quality of Desktop and Mobile Personal Computers: A Quarter-Century Historical Overview," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 268-273, May.
  11. Ana Aizcorbe, 2005. "Moore's Law, Competition, and Intel's Productivity in the Mid-1990s," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 305-308, May.
  12. Severin Borenstein & Nancy L. Rose, 1991. "Competition and Price Dispersion in the U.S. Airline Industry," NBER Working Papers 3785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Brett R. Gordon, 2009. "A Dynamic Model of Consumer Replacement Cycles in the PC Processor Industry," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(5), pages 846-867, 09-10.
  14. Edward C. Prescott & Michael Visscher, 1977. "Sequential Location among Firms with Foresight," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 8(2), pages 378-393, Autumn.
  15. Ariel Pakes, 2003. "A Reconsideration of Hedonic Price Indexes with an Application to PC's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1578-1596, December.
  16. Aghion, Philippe, et al, 2001. "Competition, Imitation and Growth with Step-by-Step Innovation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 467-92, July.
  17. Gilbert, Richard J & Newbery, David M G, 1982. "Preemptive Patenting and the Persistence of Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 514-26, June.
  18. Johannes Van Biesebroeck & Aamir Hashmi, 2007. "Market Structure and Innovation: A Dynamic Analysis of the Global Automobile Industry," 2007 Meeting Papers 362, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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