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Standard Setting Committees: Consensus Governance for Shared Technology Platforms

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  • Timothy Simcoe

Abstract

Voluntary Standard Setting Organizations (SSOs) use a consensus process to create new compatibility standards. Practitioners have suggested that SSOs are increasingly politicized and perhaps incapable of producing timely standards. This article develops a simple model of standard setting committees and tests its predictions using data from the Internet Engineering Task Force, an SSO that produces many of the standards used to run the Internet. The results show that an observed slowdown in standards production between 1993 and 2003 can be linked to distributional conflicts created by the rapid commercialization of the Internet. (JEL C78, L15, L86)

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Simcoe, 2012. "Standard Setting Committees: Consensus Governance for Shared Technology Platforms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 305-336, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:1:p:305-36
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David P. Myatt, 2005. "Instant Exit from the Asymmetric War of Attrition," Economics Series Working Papers 160, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters,in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Benjamin Chiao & Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2007. "The rules of standard-setting organizations: an empirical analysis," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(4), pages 905-930, December.
    5. Benjamin F. Jones, 2008. "The Knowledge Trap: Human Capital and Development Reconsidered," NBER Working Papers 14138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Marc Rysman & Timothy Simcoe, 2008. "Patents and the Performance of Voluntary Standard-Setting Organizations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(11), pages 1920-1934, November.
    7. Kennan, John & Wilson, Robert, 1993. "Bargaining with Private Information," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 45-104, March.
    8. Kevin Boudreau, 2010. "Open Platform Strategies and Innovation: Granting Access vs. Devolving Control," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(10), pages 1849-1872, October.
    9. Edward Vytlacil, 2002. "Independence, Monotonicity, and Latent Index Models: An Equivalence Result," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 331-341, January.
    10. Stanley M. Besen & Joseph Farrell, 1994. "Choosing How to Compete: Strategies and Tactics in Standardization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 117-131, Spring.
    11. Muhamet Yildiz, 2004. "Waiting to Persuade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 223-248.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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