Better Late than Early: Vertical Differentiation in the Adoption of a New Technology
28 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2010 Last revised: 24 Mar 2021
Date Written: September 1993
After the initial breakthrough in the research phase of R&D a new product undergoes a process of change, improvement and adaptation to market conditions. We model the strategic behavior of firms in this development phase of R&D. We emphasize that a key dimension to this competition is the innovations that lead to product differentiation and quality improvement. In a duopoly model with a single adoption choice, we derive endogeneously the level and diversity of product innovations. We demonstrate the existence of equilibria in which one firm enters early with a low quality product while the other continues to develop the technology and eventually markets a high quality good. In such an equilibrium, no monopoly rent is dissipated and the later innovator makes more profits. Incumbent firms may well be the early innovators, contrary to the predictions of the hypothesis.
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