The Welfare Analysis of Product Innovations with an Application to CT Scanners
NBER Working Paper No. 1724
The main goal of this paper is to put forward a methodology for the measurement of product innovations using a value metric, i.e., equating the "magnitude" of innovations with the welfare gains that they generate. This research design is applied to the case of Computed Tomography (CT) Scanners, a revolutionary innovation in medical technology. The econometric procedure centers on the estimation of a discrete choice model (the nested multinominal logit), that yeilds the parameters of a utility function defined over the-changing-quality dimensions of the innovative product. The estimated flow of social gains from innovation is used primarily to compute a social rate of return to R&D, to explore the interrelation between innovation and diffusion, and to trace the time profile of benefits and costs, the latter suggesting the possible occurance of "technological cycles".
Published: Journal of Political Economy, April 1989, 97(2), 444-479.