The usual explanation for why the producers of a given product use different technologies involves "vintage-capital": A firm understands the frontier technology, but can still prefer an older, less efficient technology in which it has made specific physical and human capital investments. This paper develops an alternative. "information-barrier" hypothesis: Firms differ in the technologies they use because it is costly for them to overcome the informational barriers that separate them. The paper endogenizes both innovative and imitative effort. The industry life-cycle implications -- declining price and increasing output -- broadly agree with the Gort-Klepper data. Empirically, the paper focuses on the slow spread of Diesel locomotives, which can not be explained by the vintage-capital hypothesis alone. For instance, contrary to that hypothesis, railroads were buying new steam locomotives long after the Diesel first came into use -- exactly as the information-barrier hypothesis would imply.
|Date of creation:||Sep 1993|
|Publication status:||published as Journal of Political Economy, 102, no. 1, (February 1994), p. 24-52|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Boyan Jovanovic & Rafael Rob, 1989. "The Growth and Diffusion of Knowledge," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 569-582.
- Andolfatto, D. & MacDonald, G.M., 1995. "Endogeneous Technological Change, Growth, and Aggregate Functions," Working Papers 9504, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics.
- Bengt Holmstrom, 1982.
"Moral Hazard in Teams,"
Bell Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 324-340, Autumn.
- Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Discussion Papers 471, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Mansfield, Edwin & Schwartz, Mark & Wagner, Samuel, 1981. "Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 907-918, December.
- Kenneth J. Arrow, 1962. "The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 155-173.
- Spence, Michael, 1984. "Cost Reduction, Competition, and Industry Performance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 101-121, January.
- Chari, V V & Hopenhayn, Hugo, 1991. "Vintage Human Capital, Growth, and the Diffusion of New Technology," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1142-1165, December.
- Karl Shell, 2010. "A Model of Inventive Activity and Capital Accumulation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1409, David K. Levine.
- 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.
- Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4463. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.