Gregory E. Goaring

Innovation, Product Durability, and Market Structure

Because many durable goods industries are also industries with significant innovative activity, we analyze the relationship between an oligopolistic firm’s choice of product durability and cost-reducing innovation in rental and sales markets. We demonstrate the firm’s durability may be greater than, equal to, or less than a social planner’s, depending upon innovation’s impact on the marginal cost of durability. We also show that the firm’s innovation level can be maximized for moderate levels of concentration if the output is durable. This provides theoretical support for the empirical observation that innovation is often maximized in markets of moderate concentration.