3D Challenges: Ensuring Competition and Innovation in 3D Printing
37 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2019 Last revised: 24 Aug 2020
Date Written: March 20, 2019
Not often is a general-purpose technology created that can disrupt numerous markets and significantly affect social welfare. 3D printing fits this description. It promises to improve the quality of some goods and to greatly increase the efficiency of their production processes. More importantly, it holds potential to reshape entire supply chains, including the design, manufacture, assembly, distribution, warehousing, and marketing of some goods, potentially even eliminating some parts of such chains. By changing the Coasian tradeoff, it also re-shapes relationships between market players. In this article, we re-view the potential disruptive effects of 3D technology, analyzing the ways it affects market dynamics and social welfare. We then consider the policy and institutional responses that may be required as 3D printing comes into its own, focusing on regulatory tools that foster competition and innovation. We identify three main regulatory tasks that are affected by the unique characteristics of 3D printing technology.
Keywords: 3D printing, competition, innovation, dynamic efficiency
JEL Classification: k20, k21, L11, L14, L22, L23, L34, L25, L40, L51
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