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Price Competition and Product Differentiation when Goods have Network Effects

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  • Conrad, Klaus
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    Abstract

    The objective of our approach is to develop a model which captures horizontal product differentiation under environmental awareness, product innovation under network effects, and price competition whereby environmentally friendly products are costlier to produce. As an example, we refer to automobile producers, offering cars with a gasoline powered engine and one with a natural gas powered engine. The network of petrol stations provide the complementary good. The fulfilled expectation equilibrium could be one with either the firm offering the conventional engine as the only producer, or one with the firm offering the new technology as the only producer, or one where both firms share the market. Which equilibrium will emerge depends on the cost of producing energy efficient engines and on environmental awareness of the consumers. Due to the latter aspect the innovative firm has a chance to enter the market. We use a two stage game in prices and characteristics to analyse the respective market structure. We show that if environmental awareness is strong, the firm with the conventional technology will improve energy efficiency of its product. If the network effect is weak, both firms will be in the market. Prices and profits will decline if the role of the network effect becomes important.

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    File URL: https://ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/999/1/612.pdf
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    Paper provided by Institut fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre und Statistik, Abteilung fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre in its series Discussion Papers with number 612.

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    Date of creation: 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:mnh:vpaper:999

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    1. 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.
    2. Jeffrey Church & Neil Gandal, 1992. "Integration, Complementary Products, and Variety," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(4), pages 651-675, December.
    3. Bansal, Sangeeta & Gangopadhyay, Shubhashis, 2003. "Tax/subsidy policies in the presence of environmentally aware consumers," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(2, Supple), pages 333-355, March.
    4. Chou, Chien-fu & Shy, Oz, 1990. "Network effects without network externalities," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 259-270, June.
    5. Economides, Nicholas, 1996. "The economics of networks," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 673-699, October.
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    7. José Moraga-González & Noemi Padrón-Fumero, 2002. "Environmental Policy in a Green Market," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(3), pages 419-447, July.
    8. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13, January.
    9. Mads Greaker, 2006. "Eco-labels, Trade and Protectionism," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 33(1), pages 1-37, 01.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Cremer, Helmuth & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1999. "On the taxation of polluting products in a differentiated industry," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 575-594, March.
    13. Shy,Oz, 2001. "The Economics of Network Industries," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521805001, October.
    14. Michael L. Katz & Carl Shapiro, 1994. "Systems Competition and Network Effects," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 93-115, Spring.
    15. Church, J. & Gandal, N., 1993. "Strategic Entry Deterrence: Complementary Products as Installed Base," Papers 16-93, Tel Aviv.
    16. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1992. "Product Introduction with Network Externalities," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 55-83, March.
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