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The Value of Network Information

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Abstract

The business model of companies such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, relies on mon- etizing the information on the interactions and in uences of their users. How valuable is such information, and is its use bene cial or detrimental for consumer welfare? We study these questions in a model where a monopoly sells a network good and may price discriminate using network information: information on consumers in uences and/or on consumers susceptibili- ties to influence. Our framework incorporates a rich set of market products, including goods characterized by global and local network effects. We derive results on the value of network information and determine under which conditions, relative to uniform price, consumer surplus increases. We demonstrate the applicability of our framework using survey data on various types of relationships.

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Paper provided by Brown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2013-13.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2013-13

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Postal: Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

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  1. Ballester, Coralio & Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Who’s Who in Networks. Wanted: The Key Player," CEPR Discussion Papers 5329, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Matthew O. Jackson & Tomas Rodriguez-Barraquer & Xu Tan, 2012. "Social Capital and Social Quilts: Network Patterns of Favor Exchange," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1857-97, August.
  3. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Standardization, Compatibility, and Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 70-83, Spring.
  4. Bearden, William O & Etzel, Michael J, 1982. " Reference Group Influence on Product and Brand Purchase Decisions," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 183-94, September.
  5. Nair, Harikesh S. & Manchanda, Puneet & Bhatia, Tulikaa, 2006. "Asymmetric Peer Effects in Physician Prescription Behavior: The Role of Opinion Leaders," Research Papers 1970, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  6. Bloch, Francis & Quérou, Nicolas, 2013. "Pricing in social networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 243-261.
  7. Arthur Campbell, 2013. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Percolation in Social Networks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2466-98, October.
  8. Catherine Tucker, 2008. "Identifying Formal and Informal Influence in Technology Adoption with Network Externalities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(12), pages 2024-2038, December.
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