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Incentives for labour-augmenting innovations in vertical markets: The role of wage rate

Luca Sandrini

International Journal of Industrial Organization, 2021, vol. 75, issue C

Abstract: This article analyses the link between the wage rate and the incentives to develop and adopt a labour-augmenting innovation in a vertical market. In a model where an upstream monopolist sells the innovation to several downstream manufacturers, I show that the wage rate affects the incentives to innovate in different ways depending on i) the initial level of wage and ii) the timing of the policy’s implementation. Moreover, if the policy is introduced when the size and the price of innovation are common knowledge, then the policy-maker can elicit her preferred equilibrium by nudging more firms to adopt the technology. Instead, if the policy is introduced before the investment stage, then the increase of the wage rate generates two opposite effects: a positive cost-reducing effect and a negative output-contraction effect. If and only if the wage level is below a critical threshold, the former dominates the latter. I argue that, under certain conditions, a policy that raises the price of labour may be beneficial for both the incentives to invest in labour-augmenting innovation and the industry outcomes.

Keywords: Innovation; Vertical markets; Oligopoly; Minimum wage (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J31 L13 O31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ijindorg.2021.102715

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Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:75:y:2021:i:c:s0167718721000084