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Discussion Paper

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We study a winner-take-all R&D race where firms are privately informed about the uncertain arrival rate of the invention. Due to the interdependent-value nature of the problem, the equilibrium displays a strong herding effect that distinguishes our framework from war-of-attrition models. Nonetheless, equilibrium expenditure in R&D is sub-optimal when the planner is sufficiently impatient. Pessimistic firms prematurely exit the race, so that the expected discounted amount of R&D activity is inefficiently low. This result stands in contrast to the overinvestment in research that is typical of winner-take-all R&D races without private information. We conclude that secrecy in R&D inefficiently slows down the pace of innovation.

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