Katrien Kesteloot and Reinhilde Veugelers

Stable R&D Cooperation with Spillovers

The literature on the incentives for R & D cooperation with spillovers typically deals only with the factors affecting cooperative profits. This paper focuses on the incentives to cheat and the stability of such cooperative agreements in a repeated game framework. It is shown that the stability of cooperation is influenced by the nature and magnitude of spillovers, relative to the nature and degree of product market competition. While cooperative profits are higher with large positive (exogenous, unintended) know-how spillovers, such as in fundamental research, our anslysis shows that it may be easier to sustain cooperation in areas with lower spillovers, such as applied research, because of the smaller incenfives to cheat on the initial agreement, at least when firms produce substitutes. Alternatively, the possibility of technology sharing (i.e., intended or endogenous spillovers), besides R&D coordination, not only increases cooperative profits but also reduces the incentives to defect from a cooperative equilibrium.