An Experimental Analysis of Dynamic Incentives to Share Knowledge
38 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2009
Date Written: August 31, 2009
Knowledge sharing arrangements are an important part of the innovation process as they help firms acquire technological capabilities, shorten development time, and spread risk and cost. A question central to the study of knowledge sharing arrangements is the impact of competition on cooperation. While cooperation has the benefit of avoiding duplication, it may have an adverse effect on the competitive advantage of a leading firm. Hence, firms face a difficult challenge during the innovation process while deciding which components of it, if any, to carry out in collaboration with other firms. This paper reports the results of controlled laboratory experiments which identify how the decision to form research joint ventures changes with both relative progress during the R&D process and the intensity of product market competition. The design is based on a modified version of Erkal and Minehart (2008). The results indicate that if expected profits are such that the lagging firms always stay in the race, cooperation unravels as firms move forward in the discovery process and as monopoly profits become relatively more attractive. These results are generally consistent with the theoretical predictions.
Keywords: experiments, multi-stage R&D, stochastic R&D, cooperative R&D, knowledge sharing, research joint ventures
JEL Classification: C91, L24, O3, D81
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation