The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

R&D Races

  • Jennifer F. Reinganum
Reference work entry


This article summarizes recent theoretical and empirical research on R&D races. Two canonical models of an R&D race are described, and their implications for the investment behaviour of incumbent leaders and potential entrants are discussed.

Empirical studies that attempt to verify or refute the implied patterns of investment are also discussed.


R&D races Innovation Invention Patents 

JEL Classifications

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Arrow, K. 1962. Economic welfare and the allocation of resources for invention. In The rate and direction of inventive activity: Economic and social factors. Princeton: Princeton University Press for the NBER.Google Scholar
  2. Barzel, Y. 1968. Optimal timing of innovations. Review of Economics and Statistics 50: 348–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Czarnitzki, D., and K. Kraft. 2004. An empirical test of the asymmetric models on innovative activity: Who invests more into R&D, the incumbent or the challenger? Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 54: 153–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cockburn, I., and R. Henderson. 1994. Racing to invest? The dynamics of competition in ethical drug discovery. Journal of Economics and Management Strategy 3: 481–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Doraszelski, U. 2003. An R&D race with knowledge accumulation. RAND Journal of Economics 34: 24–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Grossman, G., and C. Shapiro. 1987. Dynamic R&D competition. Economic Journal 97: 372–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gilbert, R., and D. Newbery. 1982. Pre-emptive patenting and the persistence of monopoly. American Economic Review 72: 514–526.Google Scholar
  8. Harris, C., and J. Vickers. 1985. Perfect equilibrium in a model of a race. Review of Economic Studies 52: 193–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Harris, C., and J. Vickers. 1987. Racing with uncertainty. Review of Economic Studies 54: 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kamien, M., and N. Schwartz. 1974. Patent life and R&D rivalry. American Economic Review 64: 183–187.Google Scholar
  11. Lee, T., and L. Wilde. 1980. Market structure and innovation: A reformulation. Quarterly Journal of Economics 94: 429–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lerner, J. 1997. An empirical exploration of a technology race. RAND Journal of Economics 28: 228–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Loury, G. 1979. Market structure and innovation. Quarterly Journal of Economics 93: 395–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Malueg, D., and S. Tsutsui. 1997. Dynamic R&D competition with learning. RAND Journal of Economics 28: 751–772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Reinganum, J. 1983. Uncertain innovation and the persistence of monopoly. American Economic Review 73: 741–748.Google Scholar
  16. Reinganum, J. 1985. Innovation and industry evolution. Quarterly Journal of Economics 50: 81–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Vickers, J. 1986. The evolution of market structure when there is a sequence of innovations. Journal of Industrial Economics 35: 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Weeds, H. 2002. Strategic delay in a real options model of R&D competition. Review of Economic Studies 69: 729–747.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Zizzo, D. 2002. Racing with uncertainty: A patent race experiment. International Journal of Industrial Organization 20: 877–902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer F. Reinganum
    • 1
  1. 1.