DOI: 10.1257/aer.20201079 ISSN: 0002-8282

Market Power and Innovation in the Intangible Economy

Maarten De Ridder
  • Economics and Econometrics

This paper offers a unified explanation for the slowdown of productivity growth, the decline in business dynamism, and the rise of market power. Using a quantitative framework, I show that the rise of intangible inputs, such as software, can explain these trends. Intangibles reduce marginal costs and raise fixed costs, which gives firms with high-intangible adoption a competitive advantage, in turn deterring other firms from entering. I structurally estimate the model on French and US micro data. After initially boosting productivity, the rise of intangibles causes a decline in productivity growth, consistent with the empirical trends observed since the mid-1990s. (JEL D22, D24, E23, L11, O31, O47)

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