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How Destructive is Innovation?

Author

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  • Daniel Garcia-Macia
  • Chang-Tai Hsieh
  • Peter J. Klenow

Abstract

Entrants and incumbents can create new products and displace the products of competitors. Incumbents can also improve their existing products. How much of aggregate productivity growth occurs through each of these channels? Using data from the U.S. Longitudinal Business Database on all nonfarm private businesses from 1983 to 2013, we arrive at three main conclusions: First, most growth appears to come from incumbents. We infer this from the modest employment share of entering firms (defined as those less than 5 years old). Second, most growth seems to occur through improvements of existing varieties rather than creation of brand new varieties. Third, own-product improvements by incumbents appear to be more important than creative destruction. We infer this because the distribution of job creation and destruction has thinner tails than implied by a model with a dominant role for creative destruction.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Garcia-Macia & Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2016. "How Destructive is Innovation?," NBER Working Papers 22953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22953
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John C. Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2010. "Who Creates Jobs? Small vs. Large vs. Young," NBER Working Papers 16300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ryan Decker & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2014. "The Role of Entrepreneurship in US Job Creation and Economic Dynamism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 3-24, Summer.
    3. Colin J. Hottman & Stephen J. Redding & David E. Weinstein, 2016. "Quantifying the Sources of Firm Heterogeneity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(3), pages 1291-1364.
    4. Gordon, Robert J., 2007. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226304601, October.
    5. John Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2013. "Who Creates Jobs? Small versus Large versus Young," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 347-361, May.
    6. Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Barriers to Riches," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661306, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Timothy Kehoe & Sewon Hur & Kim Ruhl & Jose Asturias, 2016. "Firm Entry and Exit and Aggregate Growth," 2016 Meeting Papers 573, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Zheng, Zhijie & Huang, Chien-Yu & Yang, Yibai, 2018. "Inflation and Growth: A Non-Monotonic Relationship in an Innovation-Driven Economy," MPRA Paper 84768, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. repec:eee:moneco:v:93:y:2018:i:c:p:89-109 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Aghion, Philippe & Bircan, Cagatay, 2017. "The Middle-Income Trap from a Schumpeterian Perspective," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 521, Asian Development Bank.
    5. Werner Hölzl & Klaus S. Friesenbichler & Agnes Kügler & Michael Peneder & Andreas Reinstaller, 2017. "Austria 2025 – Competitiveness, Location Factors, Market and Product Strategies Pursued by Austrian Enterprises and Positioning in the International Value-added Chain," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 90(3), pages 219-228, March.
    6. repec:eee:moneco:v:93:y:2018:i:c:p:1-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:moneco:v:93:y:2018:i:c:p:21-23 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:red:issued:17-109 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. N. N., 2017. "WIFO-Monatsberichte, Heft 3/2017," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 90(3), March.
    10. Herkenhoff, Kyle F. & Ohanian, Lee E. & Prescott, Edward C., 2018. "Tarnishing the golden and empire states: Land-use restrictions and the U.S. economic slowdown," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 89-109.
    11. David Argente & Munseob Lee & Sara Moreira, 2018. "How do Firms Grow? The Life Cycle of Products Matters," 2018 Meeting Papers 1174, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Angus Chu & Guido Cozzi, 2018. "Effects of Patents versus R&D subsidies on Income Inequality"," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 29, pages 68-84, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • O5 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies

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