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Network effects, Compatibility and the Environment : The Case of Hydrogen Powered Cars

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  • Conrad, Klaus
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    Abstract

    The paper addresses the problem of entry barriers for a new technology – hydrogen powered cars or cars with fuel cell engines – if the network of its filling stations is missing or thin. We use Hotelling's model of product differentiation to characterize a situation where an incumbent firm produces the old technology, compatible with the existing network of filling stations, and an entrant, who cannot use this network for its products. We assume that the entrant has to invest in remodeling existing filling stations for making them compatible. This, however, raises his costs. In the intertemporal setting of our model, the Hotelling pricing rule for exhaustible resources encourages the entrant to invest in compatibility because the price of gasoline will rise in the long run to the price of the backstop technology - fuel cells. Depending on the cost of compatibility, our model indicates three possible outcomes. Either, the costs of compatibility are too high and governmental support is required. Or the incumbent bears losses in initial periods by waiting for profits in later periods when full compatibility of the network is reached. Or the entrant benefits from the fact that the price of oil reaches the price of the backstop technology (full cells) rather soon.

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    File URL: https://ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/998/1/613.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institut fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre und Statistik, Abteilung fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre in its series Discussion Papers with number 613.

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    Date of creation: 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:mnh:vpaper:998

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    1. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1992. "Product Introduction with Network Externalities," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 55-83, March.
    2. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Technology Adoption in the Presence of Network Externalities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 822-41, August.
    3. Chou, Chien-fu & Shy, Oz, 1990. "Network effects without network externalities," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 259-270, June.
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    5. Anette Boom & Pio Baake, . "Vertical Product Differentiation, Network Externalities, and Compatibility Decisions," Papers 010, Departmental Working Papers.
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    8. Belleflamme, Paul, 1998. "Adoption of network technologies in oligopolies," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 415-444, July.
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    13. Church, Jeffrey & Gandal, Neil, 1996. "Strategic entry deterrence: Complementary products as installed base," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 331-354, September.
    14. Crampes, C. & Hollander, A., 1991. "Duopoly and Quality Standards," Cahiers de recherche 9128, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    15. Shy,Oz, 2001. "The Economics of Network Industries," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521805001, Fall.
    16. Klaus Conrad, 2005. "Price Competition and Product Differentiation When Consumers Care for the Environment," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(1), pages 1-19, 05.
    17. Uri Ronnen, 1991. "Minimum Quality Standards, Fixed Costs, and Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 490-504, Winter.
    18. Matutes, Carmen & Regibeau, Pierre, 1996. "A selective review of the economics of standardization. Entry deterrence, technological progress and international competition," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 183-209, September.
    19. Church, J. & Gandal, N., 1991. "Complementary Network Externalities and Technological Adoption," Papers 5-91, Tel Aviv.
    20. Chou, Chien-fu & Shy, Oz, 1993. "Partial compatibility and supporting services," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 193-197.
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