Time Path in Innovation, Imitation, and Growth: The Case of the Motorcycle Industry in Postwar Japan

Posted: 17 Nov 2009

See all articles by Eiji Yamamura

Eiji Yamamura

Seinan Gakuin University

Tetsushi Sonobe

National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies

Keijiro Otsuka

National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)

Date Written: 2005

Abstract

Firm-level data on the development of the motorcycle industry in Japan from 1948 to 1964 are used to explore how an industry evolves over time.An initial review of the evolution of the Japanese motorcycle industry suggests that technological advancement played a critical role in the transformation of the market into an oligopoly. It is hypothesized that the negative effect of the current technology level on the rate of technological change decreases as innovation assumes greater significance in technology improvement.The second and third hypotheses suggest that firms located in industrial clusters experience rapid technological change, and that product quality (in addition to firm size and production experience) determines the survival of firms.The final two hypotheses suggest that the effect of quality improvement on firm size increases over time, and that the effect of current firm size on the rate of firm growth is positive during the innovation phase. The firm-level data support all five hypotheses.These findings suggest that the capacity to imitate plays a significant role in the period succeeding major innovations.Imitation is a means of transmitting innovations. (SAA)

Keywords: Imitation, Industry clusters, Motorcycle industry, Oligopolies, Product quality, Technological change, Firm size, Industrial development, Innovation process

Suggested Citation

Yamamura, Eiji and Sonobe, Tetsushi and Otsuka, Keijiro, Time Path in Innovation, Imitation, and Growth: The Case of the Motorcycle Industry in Postwar Japan (2005). Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Vol. 15, Issue 2, p. 169-186 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1507546

Eiji Yamamura (Contact Author)

Seinan Gakuin University ( email )

6-2-92 Nishijin
Sawara-ku
Fukuoka 814-8511
Japan

Tetsushi Sonobe

National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies ( email )

7-22-1 Roppongi
Minato-ku
Tokyo, 106-8677
Japan

Keijiro Otsuka

National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) ( email )

7-22-1 Roppongi,Minato,
Tokyo 106-8677
Japan

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