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Competition, Innovation, and the Number of Firms

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  • Pedro Bento

    () (Texas A&M University, Department of Economics)

Abstract

I look at manufacturing firms across countries and over time, and find that barriers to competition actually increase the number of firms. This finding contradicts a central feature of all current models of endogenous markups and free entry, that higher barriers should reduce competition and firm entry, thereby increasing markups. To rationalize this finding, I extend a standard model in two ways. First, I allow for multi-product firms. Second, I model barriers as increasing the cost of entering a product market, rather than the cost of forming a firm. Higher barriers to competition reduce the number of products per firm and per market, but increase markups and the total number of firms. Calibrating the model to U.S. data, I estimate cross-country differences in consumption as large as 3-fold due to observed differences in barriers to competition. In addition, increasing barriers generates either a negative or inverted-U relationship between firm-level innovation and markups. While higher markups encourage product-level innovation through the usual Schumpeterian mechanism, firm-level innovation (at least eventually) drops as firms reduce their number of products. I provide new evidence supporting these two novel implications of the model - that product-level innovation increases with barriers to competition, while the number of products per firm decreases.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Bento, 2016. "Competition, Innovation, and the Number of Firms," Working Papers 20160608-001, Texas A&M University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:txm:wpaper:20160608-001
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    File URL: http://respec.tamu.edu/bentocompfirms2.pdf
    File Function: Second version, 2016
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Barseghyan, Levon & DiCecio, Riccardo, 2011. "Entry costs, industry structure, and cross-country income and TFP differences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(5), pages 1828-1851, September.
    2. Dhritman Bhattacharya & Nezih Guner & Gustavo Ventura, 2013. "Distortions, Endogenous Managerial Skills and Productivity Differences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 11-25, January.
    3. Bento, Pedro, 2014. "Niche firms, mass markets, and income across countries: Accounting for the impact of entry costs," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 147-158.
    4. Pedro Bento, 2014. "Competition as a Discovery Procedure: Schumpeter Meets Hayek in a Model of Innovation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 124-152, July.
    5. Dutz, Mark & Hayri, Aydin, 1999. "Does More Intense Competition Lead to Higher Growth?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2249, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    7. Federico Etro, 2006. "Market Leaders and Industrial Policy," Working Papers 103, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2006.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Pedro Bento & Diego Restuccia, 2019. "The Role of Nonemployers in Business Dynamism and Aggregate Productivity," NBER Working Papers 25998, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    product market regulation; entry costs; firm size; productivity; innovation; markups; competition; multi-product firms;

    JEL classification:

    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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