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Innovation and the Emergence of Market Dominance

  • Susan Athey
  • Armin Schmutzler

This paper analyzes a model of oligopolistic competition with ongoing investment. It incorporates the following models as special cases: incremental investment, patent races, learning-by-doing, and network externalities. We investigate circumstances under which a firm with low costs or high quality will extend its initial lead through further cost-reducing or quality-improving investments. In many commonly-studied oligopoly games, such investments are strategic substitutes. We derive a new comparative statics result that applies to games with strategic substitutes, and we use the result to derive conditions under which leading firms invest more than lagging firms. We show that the conditions are satisfied in a variety of commonly-studied oligopoly models. We also highlight plausible countervailing effects from two distinct sources. First, leading firms may find it more costly than others to achieve the same increment to their state. This force is particularly salient inmany models of patentn races, where firms make research investments in an attempt to find a new technology that delivers a given level of cost or quality. Second, countervailing effects may arise in dynamic games with more than two firms are sufficiently patient.

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Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 99-18.

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Date of creation: Oct 1999
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Handle: RePEc:mit:worpap:99-18
Contact details of provider: Postal: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS, 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 02142 USA
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Web page: http://econ-www.mit.edu/

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  1. Fershtman, Chaim & Judd, Kenneth L, 1987. "Equilibrium Incentives in Oligopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 927-40, December.
  2. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1989. "The Sensitivity of Strategic and Corrective R&D Policy in Oligopolistic Industries," Discussion Papers 869, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Cabral, L. & Riordan, M., 1992. "The Learning Curve, Market Dominance and Predatory Pricing," Papers 39, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  4. Luis Cabral, 2000. "Increasing Dominance With No Efficiency Effect," Working Papers 00-06, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  5. Athey, S., 1996. "Characterizing Properties of Stochastic Objective Functions," Working papers 96-1, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Aghion, Philippe & Harris, Christopher & Vickers, John, 1997. "Competition and growth with step-by-step innovation: An example," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 771-782, April.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521424585 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Glenn C. Loury, 1976. "Market Structure and Innovation," Discussion Papers 256, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  9. Flaherty, M Therese, 1980. "Industry Structure and Cost-Reducing Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1187-1209, July.
  10. Kyle Bagwell, 1993. "Dynamic Retail Price and Investment Competition," Discussion Papers 1115, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Lee, Tom & Wilde, Louis L, 1980. "Market Structure and Innovation: A Reformulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 429-36, March.
  12. Reinganum, Jennifer R., . "Innovation and Industry Evolution," Working Papers 426, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  13. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "Rationalizability, Learning, and Equilibrium in Games with Strategic Complementarities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1255-77, November.
  14. Klepper, Steven, 1996. "Entry, Exit, Growth, and Innovation over the Product Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 562-83, June.
  15. Novshek, William, 1985. "On the Existence of Cournot Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 85-98, January.
  16. Beath, John & Katsoulacos, Yannis & Ulph, David, 1987. "Sequential Product Innovation and Industry Evolution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(388a), pages 32-43, Supplemen.
  17. James A. Brander & Barbara J. Spencer, 1984. "Export Subsidies and International Market Share Rivalry," NBER Working Papers 1464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13, January.
  19. Vives, Xavier, 1990. "Nash equilibrium with strategic complementarities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 305-321.
  20. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Installed Base and Compatibility With Implications for Product Preannouncements," Working papers 385, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  21. Vickers, John S, 1986. "The Evolution of Market Structure When There Is a Sequence of Innovations," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(1), pages 1-12, September.
  22. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
  23. Budd, Christopher & Harris, Christopher & Vickers, John, 1993. "A Model of the Evolution of Duopoly: Does the Asymmetry between Firms Tend to Increase or Decrease?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 543-73, July.
  24. AMIR, Rabah, 1994. "Cournot Oligopoly and the Theory of Supermodular Games," CORE Discussion Papers 1994013, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  25. Bagwell, Kyle & Ramey, Garey, 1994. "Coordination Economies, Advertising, and Search Behavior in Retail Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 498-517, June.
  26. Uri Ronnen, 1991. "Minimum Quality Standards, Fixed Costs, and Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 490-504, Winter.
  27. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1984. "The Fat-Cat Effect, the Puppy-Dog Ploy, and the Lean and Hungry Look," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 361-66, May.
  28. Susan Athey & Armin Schmutzler, 1995. "Product and Process Flexibility in an Innovative Environment," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 557-574, Winter.
  29. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Technology Adoption in the Presence of Network Externalities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 822-41, August.
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