We study the effect of product market competition on the incentives to innovate and the economy’s rate of growth in an endogenous growth model. We extend previous works in industrial organization by assuming that innovation is sequential and cumulative, and early endogenous growth models by accounting for the possibility that in each period many asymmetric firms (i.e., an endogenously determined number of successive innovators) are simultaneously active. We identify the price effect, the front loading of profits, and the productive efficiency effect associated with an increase in competitive pressure. The price effect reduces the incentives to innovate, but both the front loading of profits and the productive efficiency effect raise the incentives to innovate. We demonstrate circumstances in which the productive efficiency effect dominates the price effect. In these circumstances, the front loading of profits and the fact that the productive efficiency effect dominates the price effect compound to make the equilibrium rate of growth increase with the intensity of competition
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