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The Impact of Competition on Macroeconomic Performance

  • Karl Aiginger


This paper investigates to which extent tough competition impacts on the macroeconomic performance of countries. The relation between competition and innovation has been investigated intensely in industrial economics. It started with Schumpeter's hypothesis that monopoly profits were necessary for innovation, leading then to U-curve relationships where innovation was highest for medium-range competition, but lower for very tough competition as well as for a very lax competitive regime. Empirical studies on the growth differences between countries increasingly stress – apart from the usual suspects like investment, R&D, human capital – the role of institutions. They include indicators on regulation, government size, corruption and rule of law, but usually not the degree of competition. Conventional growth theory did not model the impact of competition, but assumed perfect competition. In New Growth Theory, economic growth depends on purposeful and maximising innovation activities, where market structure plays an important role. But this did not result in the inclusion of competition variables into empirical growth equations. We have attempted to narrow this gap by relating 13 indicators of the toughness of competition to macroeconomic performance. We then added these competition indicators to an equation relating macro performance to the standard explanatory variables for economic growth (like investment and R&D). The results indicate that competition plus innovation is a good recipe at the macro level too, probably with similar tensions and non-linearity as at the company level.

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Paper provided by WIFO in its series WIFO Working Papers with number 318.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 20 May 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wfo:wpaper:y:2008:i:318
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  1. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
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  4. Levin, Richard C & Cohen, Wesley M & Mowery, David C, 1985. "R&D Appropriability, Opportunity, and Market Structure: New Evidence on Some Schumpeterian Hypotheses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 20-24, May.
  5. Dani Rodrik, 2006. "Institutions for High-Quality Growth: What They Are and How to Acquire Them," Chapters, in: Institutions, Globalisation and Empowerment, chapter 2 Edward Elgar.
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  7. Nickell, S.J., 1993. "Competition and Crporate Performance," Economics Series Working Papers 99155, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Mark Armstrong & Simon Cowan & John Vickers, 1994. "Regulatory Reform: Economic Analysis and British Experience," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262510790, June.
  9. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
  10. Howitt, Peter & Griffith, Rachel & Aghion, Philippe & Blundell, Richard & Bloom, Nick, 2005. "Competition and Innovation: An Inverted-U Relationship," Scholarly Articles 4481507, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Olivier Blanchard, 2004. "The Economic Future of Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 3-26, Fall.
  12. Barry J. Nalebuff & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1983. "Prices and Incentives: Towards a General Theory of Compensation and Competition," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(1), pages 21-43, Spring.
  13. Sanghoon Ahn & Philip Hemmings, 2000. "Policy Influences on Economic Growth in OECD Countries: An Evaluation of the Evidence," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 246, OECD Publishing.
  14. Sapir, Andre & Aghion, Philippe & Bertola, Giuseppe & Hellwig, Martin & Pisani-Ferry, Jean & Rosati, Dariusz & Vinals, Jose & Wallace, Helen, 2004. "An Agenda for a Growing Europe: The Sapir Report," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199271498, July.
  15. Karl Aiginger, 2004. "The Economic Agenda: a View from Europe," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 187-206, 05.
  16. 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.
  17. Karl Aiginger, 2007. "Industrial Policy: Past, Diversity, Future; Introduction to the Special Issue on the Future of Industrial Policy," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 143-146, December.
  18. 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.
  19. Philippe Aghion & Christopher Harris & Peter Howitt & John Vickers, 2001. "Competition, Imitation and Growth with Step-by-Step Innovation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(3), pages 467-492.
  20. 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.
  21. Mueller, Dennis C, 1977. "The Persistence of Profits above the Norm," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 44(176), pages 369-80, November.
  22. Karl Aiginger, 2005. "Labour market reforms and economic growth – the European experience in the 1990s," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(6), pages 540-573, October.
  23. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Andrea Bassanini & Ekkehard Ernst & Sébastien Jean & Paulo Santiago & Paul Swaim, 2001. "Product and Labour Markets Interactions in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 312, OECD Publishing.
  24. Philippe Aghion & Nick Bloom & Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & Peter Howitt, 2005. "Competition and Innovation: an Inverted-U Relationship," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 701-728.
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