Compatibility and Market Structure for Network Goods
AbstractThis paper analyzes the economics of industries where network externalities are significant. In such industries, firms have strong incentives to adhere to common technical compatibility standards, so that they reap the network externalities of the whole group. However, a firm also benefits from producing an incompatible product thereby increasing its horizontal product differentiation. We show how competition balances these opposing incentives. We find that market equilibria often exhibit extreme disparities in sales, output prices, and profits across firms, despite no inherent differences in the firms' production technologies. This may explain the frequent domination of network industries by one or two firms. We also find that the presence of network externalities dramatically affects conventional welfare analysis, as total surplus in markets where these externalities are strong is highest under monopoly and declines with entry of additional firms.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 98-02.
Date of creation: Nov 1997
Date of revision:
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Postal: New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics, 44 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012-1126
Phone: (212) 998-0860
Fax: (212) 995-4218
Web page: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/economics/
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networks; network externalities; coalition structures; technical standards; compatibility;
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- L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
- D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure and Pricing
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