Market Structure and the Direction of Technological Change
We study a model where innovation comes in two varieties: improvements on existing products, and new products that expand the scope of a technology. We make this distinction in order to highlight how market structure can determine not only the quantity of innovation but also its direction. We study two market structures. The
first is the canonical one from the endogenous growth literature, where innovations can be developed by anyone, and developers market their
own innovations. We then consider a more concentrated industry, where all innovation and pricing for a given technology is monopolized.
We study the implications of the different market structures for both types of innovation, focusing on differences they induce in the direction of technological change. We apply our model model to
the case of a hardware/software technology and analyze which market structure offers greater profits to a monopolist who can monopolize
either hardware or software. We compare social welfare across the market structures, and discuss whether one type of innovation should be subsidized over another
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