Irreversible R&D investment with inter-firm spillovers

Gianluca Femminis, Gianmaria Martini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Investments in new production processes usually involve a significant amount of R&D, generating spillovers that lowers the second comer's investment cost. We show that these spillovers substantially affect the equilibrium of the dynamic game. Even for low spillover values, the leader delays her investment until the stochastic fundamental has gone past the level such that the follower's optimal strategy is to invest as soon as he attains the spillover. This bears several interesting implications. First, because the follower invests as he benefits from the spillover, in equilibrium the average time delay between the two investments is short, as it should be expected. Second, in case of a major innovation, an optimal public policy requires an intervention in favour of the investment activity; an increase in uncertainty -- delaying the equilibrium -- calls for higher subsidization rates. Third, numerical simulations show that the spillover reduces the difference between the leader's and the follower's maximum value functions. Accordingly, our model can help generate realistic market betas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1061-1090
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Investment
  • Irreversibility
  • Spillover


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