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Quality Ladders and Product Cycles

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  • Gene M. Grossman
  • Elhanan Helpman

Abstract

We develop a two-country model of endogenous innovation and imitation in order to study the interactions between these two processes. Firms in the North race to bring out the next generation of a set of technology-intensive products. Each product potentially can be improved a countably infinite number of times, but quality improvements require the investment of resources and entail uncertain prospects of success. In the South, entrepreneurs invest resources in order to learn the production processes that have been developed in the North. All R&D investment decisions are made by forward looking, profit maximizing entrepreneurs. The steady-state equilibrium is characterized by constant aggregate rates of innovation and imitation. We study how these rates respond to changes in the sizes of the two regions and to policies in each region to promote learning.

Suggested Citation

  • Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1989. "Quality Ladders and Product Cycles," NBER Working Papers 3201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3201
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-351, March.
    2. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1991. "Endogenous Product Cycles," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1214-1229, September.
    3. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Innovation, Technology Transfer, and the World Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 253-266, April.
    4. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1991. "Endogenous Product Cycles," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1214-1229, September.
    5. Segerstrom, Paul S & Anant, T C A & Dinopoulos, Elias, 1990. "A Schumpeterian Model of the Product Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1077-1091, December.
    6. Jensen, Richard & Thursby, Marie, 1986. "A strategic approach to the product life cycle," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 269-284, November.
    7. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Vertical Product Differentiation and North-South Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 810-822, December.
    8. Nancy L. Stokey, 1989. "The Volume and Composition of Trade Between Rich and Poor Countries," Discussion Papers 849, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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