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Product innovation when consumers have switching costs

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  • Evens Salies

    (Centre de recherche en économie de Sciences Po)

Abstract

some factors grant innovators with a temporary monopoly. Patenting is the most cited factor in the economic literature. This survey concentrates on another factor that confers innovators with firstmover advantage over their competitors, namely consumer switching costs, whereby a consumer makes an investment specific to her current seller, which must be duplicated for any new seller. In this survey, we list several components of switching costs that are relevant as regards to firm innovation behaviour. The aim of this classification is twofold. First, consumer switching cost theory has matured to the point that some classification of switching costs for both understanding innovative firm behaviour and building policy-oriented models is necessary. Second, the classification included in this paper addresses the confusion that has been existing so far regarding the distinction between ‘good’ or ‘bad’ switching costs, perceived or paid switching costs, and between switching and search costs. This paper then surveys the existing literature on the effect of switching costs on product innovation by firms and the way they compete for consumers. We also raise several important regulation and competition policy questions, using examples from the real world.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number 2011-07.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/5l6uh8ogmqildh09h56210pa6

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Related research

Keywords: Consumer switching costs; Search costs; Product innovation; Competition policy; History of economic thought;

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  1. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, December.
  2. Pankaj Ghemawat, 1991. "Market Incumbency and Technological Inertia," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 10(2), pages 161-171.
  3. Varadarajan, Rajan, 2009. "Fortune at the bottom of the innovation pyramid: The strategic logic of incremental innovations," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 21-29.
  4. Jackie Krafft & Evens Salies, 2008. "Why and how should innovative industries with high consumer switching costs be re-regulated?," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2008-13, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  5. Farrell, Joseph & Shapiro, Carl, 1988. "Dynamic Competition with Switching Costs," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1h02g9q4, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  6. Heiko A. Gerlach, 2004. "Announcement, Entry, and Preemption When Consumers Have Switching Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(1), pages 184-202, Spring.
  7. Waterson, Michael, 2001. "The role of consumers in competition and competition policy," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 607, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  8. Morgan, Robert M. & Hunt, Shelby, 1999. "Relationship-Based Competitive Advantage: The Role of Relationship Marketing in Marketing Strategy," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 281-290, November.
  9. Paul Klemperer & A. Jorge Padilla, 1997. "Do Firms' Product Lines Include Too Many Varieties?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(3), pages 472-488, Autumn.
  10. Mueller, Dennis C., 1997. "First-mover advantages and path dependence," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 827-850, October.
  11. Bhattacharyya, Sugato & Nanda, Vikram, 2000. "Client Discretion, Switching Costs, and Financial Innovation," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(4), pages 1101-27.
  12. Krafft, Jackie & Salies, Evens, 2008. "The diffusion of ADSL and costs of switching Internet providers in the broadband industry: Evidence from the French case," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 706-719, May.
  13. Beggs, Alan, 1989. "A Note on Switching Costs and Technology Choice," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(4), pages 437-40, June.
  14. Pae, Jae H. & Hyun, Jung Suk, 2006. "Technology advancement strategy on patronage decisions: the role of switching costs in high-technology markets," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 19-27, January.
  15. Klemperer, Paul, 1995. "Competition When Consumers Have Switching Costs: An Overview with Applications to Industrial Organization, Macroeconomics, and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 515-39, October.
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