Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Economic Growth and the Design of Search Engines

Contents:

Author Info

  • Gilles Saint Paul

    (Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics, Birkbeck)

Abstract

The Internet plays a growing role in the economy. This paper extrapolates this trend and analyses a world where most transactions take place in "cyberspace". We ask the following question: how does the design of the search engine affect the incentives to innovate and the economy’s long run growth rate? This is done in the context of a "qualitative" model where growth occurs because the number of varieties grows and consumers select a shrinking fraction of the available goods, of growing quality. They must use a search engine to locate goods. The search engine affects the market size of a good over its life cycle, and thus the incentives to innovate. Its structure has two conflicting effects. A visibility effect by which a greater hit score increases market size. A selection effect by which consumers are more picky and select higher quality goods, thus reducing the life span of any given good. While these two effects on growth cancel out for simple specifications, that is no longer the case if a firm’s score is variable along its life cycle or if he search process uses resources. It is shown that the discount effect of gradual recognition of popularity tends to reduce growth. Hence, growth is enhanced if the search engine is less sensitive to popularity. Also, growth is lower when the search engine rewards "web page quality" better because of the resources diverted away from R and D into advertising. But these mechanisms generate opposite level effects on the average quality selected by consumers. As a result the net effect on welfare is ambiguous.

Download Info

If 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.
File URL: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/ems/research/wp/PDF/BWPEF0901.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics in its series Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance with number 0901.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bbk:bbkefp:0901

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX, UK
Phone: 44-20- 76316429
Fax: 44-20- 76316416
Web page: http://www.ems.bbk.ac.uk/

Order Information:
Email:

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

Citations

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bbk:bbkefp:0901. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.