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Choosing How to Compete: Strategies and Tactics in Standardization

  • Stanley M. Besen
  • Joseph Farrell

In a network industry, each firm must decide whether or not it wants its product to be compatible with those of rivals. This horizontal compatibility strategy determines whether competition is a battle to establish a standard or the more conventional competition within a standard. The two forms of competition involve different tactics and may differ in the extent to which they dissipate industry profits. In some cases, all firms in an industry may prefer the same form of competition. In other cases, firms may prefer different forms of competition and either may prevail.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 8 (1994)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 117-131

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:8:y:1994:i:2:p:117-31
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.8.2.117
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  1. Farrell, Joseph & Gallini, Nancy T., 1987. "Second-sourcing as a Commitment: Monopoly Incentives to Attract Competition," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4zr9b9dr, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Joseph Farrell and Carl Shapiro., 1987. "Optimal Contracts with Lock-In," Economics Working Papers 8758, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Standardization, Compatibility, and Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 70-83, Spring.
  4. Martin Shubik, 1971. "The Dollar Auction game: a paradox in noncooperative behavior and escalation," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 15(1), pages 109-111, March.
  5. Paul Krugman, 1991. "History versus Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 651-667.
  6. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
  7. Michael A. Einhorn, 1992. "Mix and Match Compatibility with Vertical Product Dimensions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(4), pages 535-547, Winter.
  8. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1992. "Product Introduction with Network Externalities," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 55-83, March.
  9. Liebowitz, S J & Margolis, Stephen E, 1990. "The Fable of the Keys," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-25, April.
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