Competition, Market Selection and Growth*


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     We are grateful to three anonymous referees and Editor Antonio Ciccone for useful comments and suggestions on previous versions of this article. We also benefited from comments by Giuseppe Bertola, Paolo Bertoletti, Guido Cozzi, Steve Martin, Peter Neary, Marco Pagnozzi and seminar audiences at the EARIE conference in Madrid, University College Dublin, Rome, European University Institute, Milan, Salerno, Paris, Leicester, the RES conference in Nottingham and Pavia. The usual disclaimer applies.


We study the effect of the competitive selection process on the economy's rate of growth. In an extension of standard quality-ladder models of endogenous growth, we allow for the possibility that in each period several asymmetric firms (representing an endogenously determined number of past innovators) may be simultaneously active in an industry. Stronger competitive pressure then has conflicting effects on the incentive to innovate, lowering prices but also selecting the more efficient firms. We show that the market selection effect of competition always increases the incentive to innovate and find circumstances in which it can outweigh the traditional negative effect of lower prices.