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Asymmetric Contributions to Research Joint Ventures

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We show that ex ante identical oligopolists may find it optimal to contribute asymmetrically to a research joint venture. The reason is found in the trade-off between the desire to increase the variance of the distribution of unit costs within the oligopoly (which increases gross profit, though not necessarily net profit, of the group) and the incentive to efficiently carry out R&D activities by equalizing marginal R&D costs across firms. Conditions for non-existence of symmetric contributions are given. We also propose a profit sharing rule for asymmetric research joint ventures.

JEL Classification Numbers: L13, L23.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: CIRANO and McGill University, 2: GREQAM and Universite de la Mediterranee

Publication date: 1999-06-01

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