Goldilocks and the Licensing Firm: Choosing a Partner When Rivals are Heterogeneous
University of Kentucky
Boston College - Department of Economics
August 31, 2009
Markets are often characterized with firms of differing capabilities with more efficient firms licensing their technology to lesser firms. We examine the effects that the amount of the technology transferred, and the characteristics of the partner have on this licensing. We find that a partial technology transfer can be the joint-profit minimizing transfer; no transfer then is superior. However, under weakly concave demand, a complete transfer always increases joint profits so long as there are at least three firms in the industry. We also establish a “Goldilocks” condition in partner selection: it is neither too efficient nor too inefficient. Unfortunately, profitable transfers between sufficiently inefficient firms reduce welfare, while transfers from relatively efficient firms increase welfare. However, an efficient firm might not select the least efficient partner, though it is the social-welfare-maximizing partner.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 38
Keywords: Licensing, Technology transfer, strategic competition
JEL Classification: D4, L24, L4
Date posted: September 2, 2009 ; Last revised: October 12, 2009
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