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Project Choice and Risk in R&D


  • Heiko A. Gerlach

    (University of Auckland)

  • Thomas Rønde

    (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Konrad Stahl

    (University of Mannheim)


We introduce stochastic R&D in the Hotelling model and show that if the technical risk is sufficiently high, all firms focus on the most valuable market segment. We then endogenize technical risk by allowing firms to choose between a safe and a risky R&D technology. In equilibrium, firms either both target the most attractive market with at least one firm using the risky technology or they choose different niche projects and both apply the safe R&D technology. We show that R&D spillovers lead to more differentiated R&D projects and patent protection to less. Project coordination within a RJV implies more differentiation, and may be welfare-improving.

Suggested Citation

  • Heiko A. Gerlach & Thomas Rønde & Konrad Stahl, 2004. "Project Choice and Risk in R&D," CIE Discussion Papers 2004-01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuieci:2004-01

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Irmen, Andreas & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1998. "Competition in Multi-characteristics Spaces: Hotelling Was Almost Right," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 76-102, January.
    2. d'Aspremont, C & Gabszewicz, Jean Jaskold & Thisse, J-F, 1979. "On Hotelling's "Stability in Competition"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1145-1150, September.
    3. Duranton, Gilles, 2000. "Cumulative Investment and Spillovers in the Formation of Technological Landscapes," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 205-213, June.
    4. Choi, Jay Pil, 1993. "Cooperative R&D with product market competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 553-571.
    5. Kamien, Morton I & Muller, Eitan & Zang, Israel, 1992. "Research Joint Ventures and R&D Cartels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1293-1306, December.
    6. Neven, D. & Thisse, J-F., 1989. "On Quality And Variety Competition," CORE Discussion Papers 1989020, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:revind:v:51:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11151-016-9542-z is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Henkel, Joachim & Rønde, Thomas & Wagner, Marcus, 2010. "And the Winner Is--Acquired: Entrepreneurship as a Contest with Acquisition as the Prize," CEPR Discussion Papers 8147, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Toshihiro Matsumura & Noriaki Matsushima, 2007. "On patent licensing in spatial competition with endogenous location choice," Discussion Papers 2007-35, Kobe University, Graduate School of Business Administration.

    More about this item


    technical risk; R&D project choice; technological spillovers; research joint ventures;

    JEL classification:

    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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