On the fundamentals of research and development (R&D) spillovers in competitive markets

Li Wang, Florida International University


Rivals may voluntarily share Research and Development (R&D) results even in the absence of any binding agreements or collusion. In a model where rival firms engage in non-cooperative independent R&D process, we used optimization and game theory analysis to study the equilibrium strategy of the firms. Our work showed that, while minimal spillover is always equilibrium, there may be another equilibrium where firms may reciprocally choose high, sometimes perfect, spillover rates. The incentive for sharing R&D output is based on firms' expectations of learning from their rivals' R&D progress in the future. This leads to strategic complementarities between the firms' choices of spillover rates and thus policy implication follows. Public research agencies can contribute more to social welfare by providing research as public goods. In a non-cooperative public-private research relationship where parallel R&D is conducted, by making its R&D results accessible, the public research agency can stimulate private spillovers, even if there exists rivalry among the private firms who can benefit from such spillovers.

Subject Area

Economic theory

Recommended Citation

Wang, Li, "On the fundamentals of research and development (R&D) spillovers in competitive markets" (2003). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3110378.