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Competition and Innovation: An Inverted U Relationship

  • Philippe Aghion
  • Nicholas Bloom
  • Richard Blundell
  • Rachel Griffith
  • Peter Howitt

This paper investigates the relationship between product market competition (PMC) and innovation. A growth model is developed in which competition may increase the incremental profit from innovating; on the other hand, competition may also reduce innovation incentives for laggards. There are four key predictions. First, the relationship between product market competition (PMC) and innovation is an inverted U-shape. Second, the equilibrium degree of technological neck-and-neckness' among firms should decrease with PMC. Third, the higher the average degree of neck-and-neckness' in an industry, the steeper the inverted-U relationship. Fourth, firms may innovate more if subject to higher debt-pressure, especially at lower levels of PMC. We confront these predictions with data on UK firms' patenting activity at the US patenting office. They are found to accord well with observed behavior.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9269.

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Date of creation: Oct 2002
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Publication status: published as Aghion, Philippe, Nick Bloom, Richard Blundell, Rachel Griffith and Peter Howitt. "Competition And Innovation: An Inverted-U Relationship," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2005, v120(2,May), 701-728.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9269
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  1. Jerry A. Hausman & Bronwyn H. Hall & Zvi Griliches, 1984. "Econometric Models for Count Data with an Application to the Patents-R&D Relationship," NBER Technical Working Papers 0017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Richard Blundell & James Powell, 2001. "Endogeneity in nonparametric and semiparametric regression models," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/01, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Bronwyn H. Hall and Adam Jaffe, and Manuel Trajtenberg., 2001. "Market Value and Patent Citations: A First Look," Economics Working Papers E01-304, University of California at Berkeley.
  4. Chirinko, Robert S. & Fazzari, Steven M. & Meyer, Andrew P., 1999. "How responsive is business capital formation to its user cost?: An exploration with micro data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 53-80, October.
  5. Blundell, Richard & Griffith, Rachel & van Reenen, John, 1999. "Market Share, Market Value and Innovation in a Panel of British Manufacturing Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(3), pages 529-54, July.
  6. Oliver D. Hart, 1983. "The Market Mechanism as an Incentive Scheme," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 366-382, Autumn.
  7. Philippe Aghion & Nick Bloom & Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & Peter Howitt, 2005. "Competition and Innovation: An Inverted-U Relationship," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 701-728, May.
  8. Joaquim Oliveira Martins & Stefano Scarpetta & Dirk Pilat, 1996. "Mark-Up Ratios in Manufacturing Industries: Estimates for 14 OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 162, OECD Publishing.
  9. Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1999. "Are Investment Incentives Blunted by Changes in Prices of Capital Goods?," NBER Working Papers 6676, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Aghion, Philippe, et al, 2001. "Competition, Imitation and Growth with Step-by-Step Innovation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 467-92, July.
  11. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1999. "Competition, Financial Discipline and Growth," Scholarly Articles 12490416, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Blundell, Richard & Griffith, Rachel & Windmeijer, Frank, 2002. "Individual effects and dynamics in count data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 113-131, May.
  13. Harris, Christopher & Howitt, Peter & Vickers, John & Aghion, Philippe, 2001. "Competition, Imitation and Growth with Step-by-Step Innovation," Scholarly Articles 12375013, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Costas Meghir, 1995. "Estimating labour supply responses using tax reforms," IFS Working Papers W95/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. Dasgupta, Partha & Stiglitz, Joseph, 1980. "Industrial Structure and the Nature of Innovative Activity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 266-93, June.
  16. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2000. "Patents, productivity and market value: evidence from a panel of UK firms," IFS Working Papers W00/21, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  17. Blundell, Richard & Griffith, Rachel & Van Reenen, John, 1995. "Dynamic Count Data Models of Technological Innovation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(429), pages 333-44, March.
  18. Ricardo J. Caballero & Adam B. Jaffe, 1993. "How High are the Giants' Shoulders: An Empirical Assessment of Knowledge Spillovers and Creative Destruction in a Model of Economic Growth," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1993, Volume 8, pages 15-86 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2002. "Patents, Real Options and Firm Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C97-C116, March.
  20. 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.
  21. Nickell, Stephen J, 1996. "Competition and Corporate Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 724-46, August.
  22. Philippe Aghion & Wendy Carlin & Mark Schaffer, 2002. "Competition, Innovation and Growth in Transition: Exploring the Interactions between Policies," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 501, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  23. Philippe Aghion & Mark Schankerman, 1999. "Competition, entry and the social returns to infrastructure in transition economies," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 7(1), pages 79-101, March.
  24. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  25. Grosfeld, Irena & Tressel, Thierry, 2001. "Competition, Corporate Governance: Substitutes or Complements? Evidence from the Warsaw Stock Exchange," CEPR Discussion Papers 2888, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  26. Aghion, Philippe & Schankerman, Mark, 1999. "Competition, Entry, and the Social Returns to Infrastructure in Transition Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 2052, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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