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Standardization in Decentralized Economies

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Author Info

  • Michel Benaim
  • Emmanuelle Auriol

Abstract

This paper presents a dynamic model, inspired by evolutionary game theory, of how standards and norms emerge in decentralized economies. It shows that standardization outcomes depend on adopters' attitudes to problems caused by incompatibility. If individuals display aversion to incompatibility, standardization never fails to happen eventually, but societies sometimes end up picking inferior standards. In this case, official action can be useful to quickly achieve sensible standardization. On the other hand, when individuals display tolerance or neutrality to incompatibility, there is neither path-dependency nor a lock-in problem, and regulation seems a poor alternative to laissez-faire.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.90.3.550
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 90 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 550-570

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:90:y:2000:i:3:p:550-570

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.90.3.550
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  1. S. J. Liebowitz & Stephen E. Margolis, 1994. "Network Externality: An Uncommon Tragedy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 133-150, Spring.
  2. Ellison, Glenn, 1993. "Learning, Local Interaction, and Coordination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1047-71, September.
  3. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
  4. Brian Arthur, W. & Ermoliev, Yu. M. & Kaniovski, Yu. M., 1987. "Path-dependent processes and the emergence of macro-structure," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 294-303, June.
  5. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
  6. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 1998. "Learning in games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 631-639, May.
  7. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1984. "Standardization, Compatibility and Innovation," Working papers 345, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-40, June.
  9. Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard H, 1989. "Intertemporal Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 181-93, Fall.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Luis Cabral, 2008. "Dynamic Price Competition with Network Effects," Working Papers 08-4, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  2. Christopher Spencer & Paul Temple, 2012. "Alternative Paths of Learning: Standardisation and Growth in Britain, 1901-2009," Discussion Paper Series 2012_10, Department of Economics, Loughborough University, revised Oct 2012.
  3. Markovich, Sarit, 2008. "Snowball: A dynamic oligopoly model with indirect network effects," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 909-938, March.
  4. Cantillon, Estelle & Yin, Pai-Ling, 2007. "How and when do markets tip? Lessons from the Battle of the Bund," Working Paper Series 0766, European Central Bank.
  5. Klimenko, Mikhail M., 2009. "Policies and international trade agreements on technical compatibility for industries with network externalities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 151-166, April.
  6. Cristopher Spencer & Paul Temple, 2013. "Standards, Learning and Growth in Britain 1901-2009," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0613, School of Economics, University of Surrey.

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