Path dependence and the Korean keyboard
AbstractThis paper recounts the evolution of the Korean keyboard as a case in which the disadvantages of the inherited standard turn into a nonissue with the advancement of auxiliary technologies. The persistence of an inherited standard, when a superior alternative is available, is usually regarded as market failure. However, if the transition costs to the new standard are such that the net gains from the transition are insufficient, the situation is unfortunate, but not market failure. The situation may change over time. If the net gain from the alternative standard increases, or transition costs to new alternative decrease, or both, the situation turns into one in which entrepreneurs can profit by making the transition. Where appropriate, an institutional reform may lower transition costs substantially. This paper suggests an additional possibility of technological changes that make the transition unnecessary. In the case of the Korean keyboard, changes in auxiliary technologies have rendered the disadvantages of the inherited standard innocuous. The case provides a cautionary tale against the temptation to drastically alter a seemingly hopelessly inferior inherited standard. The lesson of the Korean keyboard applies to Japanese and Chinese keyboards with even greater force.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.
Volume (Year): 88 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo
Path dependence; Technological change; Korean keyboard; Mechanical typewriter; Word processor;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
- O33 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- Liebowitz, S J & Margolis, Stephen E, 1995.
"Path Dependence, Lock-in, and History,"
Journal of Law, Economics and Organization,
Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 205-26, April.
- David, Paul A, 1990. "The Dynamo and the Computer: An Historical Perspective on the Modern Productivity Paradox," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 355-61, May.
- David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
- Cowan, Robin, 1991. "Tortoises and Hares: Choice among Technologies of Unknown Merit," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 801-14, July.
- Choi, Young Back, 2008. "Path dependence and the Korean alphabet," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 185-201, February.
- Cowan, Robin, 1990. "Nuclear Power Reactors: A Study in Technological Lock-in," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(03), pages 541-567, September.
- Liebowitz, S J & Margolis, Stephen E, 1990. "The Fable of the Keys," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-25, April.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.