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Innovation and Imitation at Various Stages of Development


  • Polterovich, Victor
  • Tonis, Alexander


A simple model of imitation and innovation is developed to explain a complicated picture of relative productivity growth in different countries. The model makes difference between global and local innovations and does not assume that a country always imitates the most advanced technology. It is shown that there are three types of stationary states, where only imitation, only innovation or a mixed policy prevails. We demonstrate how one can find the stationary states and check their stability for a broad class of imitation-innovation cost functions. Using World Bank statistical data for the period of 1980-1999, we reveal the dependence of innovation and imitation costs on GDP per capita measured in PPP and on an indicator of investment risk. An appropriate choice of two adjustment parameters of the model gives a possibility to generate trajectories of more than 80 countries and, for most of them, get qualitatively correct pictures of their movement. It turns out that three groups of countries behave differently, and there is a tendency to converge inside each group. Increase in institutional quality get countries out of underdevelopment traps, from the imitation area to a better steady state where local innovations and imitations are jointly used. All countries with high quality of institutions are moving toward the area where pure innovation policy prevails.

Suggested Citation

  • Polterovich, Victor & Tonis, Alexander, 2003. "Innovation and Imitation at Various Stages of Development," MPRA Paper 20065, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20065

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barro, Robert J, 1996. "Institutions and Growth, an Introductory Essay," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 145-148, June.
    2. Costas Azariadis & Allan Drazen, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-526.
    3. Brezis, Elise S & Krugman, Paul R & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1993. "Leapfrogging in International Competition: A Theory of Cycles in National Technological Leadership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1211-1219, December.
    4. Iwai, Katsuhito, 1984. "Schumpeterian dynamics : An evolutionary model of innovation and imitation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 159-190, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gombau, Verònica & Segarra Blasco, Agustí, 2011. "The Innovation and Imitation Dichotomy in Spanish firms: do absorptive capacity and the technological frontier matter?," Working Papers 2072/179666, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
    2. Плещинский А.С. & Жильцова Е.С., 2013. "Вычислимая Модель Модернизируемой Отрасли," Журнал Экономика и математические методы (ЭММ), Центральный Экономико-Математический Институт (ЦЭМИ), vol. 49(3), pages 69-83, июль.
    3. Balatsky, Ye., 2012. "Technological Diffusion and Investment Decision," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 10-34.
    4. Elena Derunova & Alexandr Semenov & Olga Balash & Anna Firsova, 2016. "The Mechanisms of Formation of Demand in the High-Tech Products Market," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 6(1), pages 96-102.
    5. Polterovich, Victor & Tonis, Alexander, 2005. "Innovation and Imitation at Various Stages of Development: A Model with Capital," MPRA Paper 20067, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Zaytsev, Alexander, 2013. "Региональная Диагностика Эффективности Отраслевых Производств (На Примере Сельского Хозяйства)
      [Regional economic diagnostics of industry efficiency (in case of agriculture)]
      ," MPRA Paper 52840, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Polterovich, Victor & Tonis, Alexander, 2014. "Absorptive Capacity and Innovative Capability: An Approach to Estimation," MPRA Paper 56855, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    innovation; imitation; institutional quality;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives


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