DP4090 The Impact of R&D Subsidies on the Introduction of New Products by Incumbent Firms

Author(s): Ralph Siebert
Publication Date: October 2003
Keyword(s): asymmetric firms, innovation, new product introduction, subsidies, technology policy, vertical product differentiation
JEL(s): L11, L13, L52, O31, O32, O38
Programme Areas: Industrial Organization
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=4090

This Paper analyses the impact of R&D subsidies on incumbent firms to introduce new goods. We are especially interested in investigating various consequences of government subsidies for R&D, provided to firms that offer products of different qualities. This study examines the incentives of incumbent firms to introduce new products of various quality, their prices, as well as the product variety offered on the market. We find that the innovator always introduces a new product of higher quality and withdraws the existing product from the market. Providing an R&D subsidy to a high-quality firm results in a new product with higher quality than an R&D subsidy provided to a low-quality firm, at the expense of all consumers paying higher prices for all goods in the market. When the R&D subsidy is small, the low quality firm may not introduce a new product into the market, given that R&D costs for quality improvement are high and the degree of product differentiation is small.