Leapfrogging: A Theory of Cycles in National Technological Leadership

21 Pages Posted: 25 May 2006 Last revised: 16 Aug 2010

See all articles by Elise S. Brezis

Elise S. Brezis

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Paul R. Krugman

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Daniel Tsiddon

Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 1991

Abstract

Much recent work has suggested that endogenous technological change tends to reinforce the position of the leading nations. Yet from time to time this leadership role shifts. We suggest a mechanism that explains this pattern of -leapfrogging- as a response to occasional major changes in technology. When such a change occurs, leading nations may have no incentive to adopt the new ideas; given their extensive experience with older technologies, the new ideas do not initially seem to be an improvement. Lagging nations, however, have less experience; the new techniques offer them an opportunity to use their lower wages, to break into the market. If the new techniques eventually prove to be more productive than the old, there is a reversal of leadership.

Suggested Citation

Brezis, Elise S. and Krugman, Paul R. and Tsiddon, Daniel, Leapfrogging: A Theory of Cycles in National Technological Leadership (October 1991). NBER Working Paper No. w3886. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=226748

Elise S. Brezis (Contact Author)

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics ( email )

Ramat-Gan, 52900
Israel
972-3-5318946 (Phone)
972-3-5353186 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Paul R. Krugman

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
609-258-4570 (Phone)
609-258-2809 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Daniel Tsiddon

Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 39040
Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, 69978
Israel
(972 3) 640 9218 (Phone)
(972 3) 640 9908 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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