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The Life-Cycle of a Competitive Industry

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  • Boyan Jovanovic
  • Glenn MacDonald

Abstract

Firm numbers first rise, and then fall as the typical industry evolves. This nonmonotonicity in the number of producers is explained in this paper using a competitive model in which innovation opportunities induce firms to enter, but in which a firm's failure to implement new technology causes it to exit. The model is estimated with data from the U.S. Automobile Tire Industry, a particularly dramatic example of the nonmonotonicity in firm numbers: A big shakeout took place during the 1920s. The number of automobiles sold in the U.S. does not appear to explain this shakeout. Instead, the data point to the invention of the Banbury mixer in 1916 as the event that caused the big exit wave. There were, of course, other major inventions in the tire industry, but none seems to have raised the optimal scale of its adopters by enough to cause further shakeouts.

Suggested Citation

  • Boyan Jovanovic & Glenn MacDonald, 1993. "The Life-Cycle of a Competitive Industry," NBER Working Papers 4441, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4441
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jovanovic, Boyan & MacDonald, Glenn M, 1994. "The Life Cycle of a Competitive Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 322-347, April.
    2. Steven Klepper & Elizabeth Graddy, 1990. "The Evolution of New Industries and the Determinants of Market Structure," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 27-44, Spring.
    3. A. M. Spence, 1981. "The Learning Curve and Competition," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(1), pages 49-70, Spring.
    4. Jovanovic, Boyan & Lach, Saul, 1989. "Entry, Exit, and Diffusion with Learning by Doing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 690-699, September.
    5. Gort, Michael & Klepper, Steven, 1982. "Time Paths in the Diffusion of Product Innovations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 630-653, September.
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    JEL classification:

    • L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing

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