• Three essays on competition policy and innovation incentives

      Kleer, Robin (2009)
      This thesis deals with the economics of innovation. In a general introduction we illustrate how several aspects of competition policy are linked to firms’ innovation incentives. In three individual essays we analyze more specific issues. The first essay deals with interdependencies of mergers and innovation incentives. This is particularly relevant as both topics are central elements of a firm’s competitive strategy. The essay focuses on the impact of mergers on innovative activity and competition in the product market. Possible inefficiencies due to organizational problems of mergers are accounted for. We show that optimal investment strategies depend on the resulting market structure and differ significantly from insider to outsider. In our linear model mergers turn out to increase social surplus. The second essay analyzes the different competitive advantages of large and small firms in innovation competition. While large firms typically have a better access to product markets, small firms often have a superior R&D efficiency. These distinct advantages immediately lead to the question of cooperations between firms. In our model we allow large firms to acquire small firms. In a pre-contest acquisition game large firms bid sequentially for small firms in order to combine respective advantages. Innovation competition is modeled as a patent contest. Sequential bidding allows the first large firms to bid strategically to induce a reaction of its competitor. For high efficiencies large firms prefer to acquire immediately, leading to a symmetric market structure. For low efficiencies strategic waiting of the first large firm leads to an asymmetric market structure even though the initial situation is symmetric. Furthermore, acquisitions increase the chances for successful innovation. The third essay deals with government subsidies to innovation. Government subsidies for R&D are intended to promote projects with high returns to society but too little private returns to be beneficial for private investors. Apart from the direct funding of these projects, government grants may serve as a signal of good investments for private investors. We use a simple signaling model to capture this phenomenon and allow for two types of risk classes. The agency has a preference for high risk projects as they promise high expected social returns, whereas banks prefer low risk projects with high private returns. In a setup where the subsidy can only be used to distinguish between high and low risk projects, government agency’s signal is not very helpful for banks’ investment decision. However, if the subsidy is accompanied by a quality signal, it may lead to increased or better selected private investments. The last chapter summarizes the main findings and presents some concluding remarks on the results of the essays