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Bigger is better: Market size, demand elasticity and innovation

By Klaus Desmet and Stephen L. Parente

Abstract

This paper proposes a novel mechanism whereby larger markets increase competition and facilitate process innovation. Larger markets, in the sense of more people or more open trade, support a larger variety of goods, resulting in a more crowded product space. This raises the price elasticity of demand and lowers mark-ups. Firms, therefore, become larger to break even. This facilitates process innovation as larger firms can amortize R&D costs over more goods. We demonstrate this mechanism in a standard model of process and product innovation. In doing so, we question some important results in the new trade and endogenous growth literatures.trade; population; price elasticity; competition; innovation; firm-size; scale effects; Dixit-Stiglitz; Hotelling

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