Real options game models of R&D competition between asymmetric firms with spillovers

Chi Man LEUNG, Yue Kuen Kwok*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Using real options game models, we consider the characterization of strategic equilibria associated with an asymmetric Research and Development (R&D) race between an incumbent firm and an entrant firm in the development of a new innovative product under market and technological uncertainties. The random arrival time of the discovery of the patent protected innovative product is modeled as a Poisson process. Input spillovers on the R&D effort are modeled by the change in the leader’s hazard rate of success of innovation upon the follower’s entry into the R&D race. Asymmetry between the two competing firms include sunk costs of investment, stochastic revenue flow rates generated from the product, and hazard rates of arrival of success of R&D efforts of the two firms. Under asymmetric duopoly, we obtain the complete characterization of the three types of Markov perfect equilibria (sequential leader–follower, preemption and simultaneous entry) of the firms’ optimal R&D entry decisions with respect to various sets of model parameters. Our model shows that under positive input spillover, preemptive equilibrium does not occur in the R&D race due to the presence of dominant second mover advantage. The two firms choose optimally to enter simultaneously if the sunk cost asymmetry is relatively small; otherwise, sequential equilibrium would occur. When the initial hazard rate is low relative to the level of input spillover, simultaneous entry would occur as an optimal decision, signifying another scenario of dominant second mover advantage. On the other hand, when the initial hazard rate is sufficiently high so that the first mover advantage becomes more significant, simultaneous equilibrium does not occur even under high level of positive input spillover.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-291
Number of pages33
JournalDecisions in Economics and Finance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Finance
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Preemptive equilibrium
  • R&D spillovers
  • Real options games
  • Technological and market uncertainties


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