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Vertical product differentiation, network externalities, and compatibility decisions

  • Baake, Pio
  • Boom, Anette

We analyse the subgame perfect equilibrium of a four stage game in a model of vertical product differentiation, where the consumer's evaluation of a product depends on its inherent quality and on its network's size. First, two firms choose their product's inherent quality. Then they may mutually agree on providing an adapter before competing in prices. Finally, consumers buy. We find that, despite the high quality firm's preference for incompatibility, an adapter is always provided in equilibrium. Social welfare is greater than without an adapter and can be improved by regulating compatibility only in those cases where qualities are differentiated too much.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 19 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (January)
Pages: 267-284

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Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:19:y:2001:i:1-2:p:267-284
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

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  1. Bental, Benjamin & Spiegel, Menahem, 1995. "Network Competition, Product Quality, and Market Coverage in the Presence of Network Externalities," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 197-208, June.
  2. Gabszewicz, J.J. & Thisse, J.-F., . "Product differentiation with income disparities: an illustrative model," CORE Discussion Papers RP -494, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, June.
  4. Belleflamme, Paul, 1998. "Adoption of network technologies in oligopolies," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 415-444, July.
  5. Nicholas Economides & Fredrick Flyer, 1997. "Compatibility and Market Structure for Network Goods," Working Papers 98-02, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  6. Baake, Pio & Boom, Anette, 2001. "Vertical product differentiation, network externalities, and compatibility decisions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 267-284, January.
  7. Farrell, Joseph, 1989. "Converters, Compatibility, and the Control of Interfaces," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8161p50b, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  8. de Palma, Andre & Leruth, Luc, 1996. "Variable willingness to pay for network externalities with strategic standardization decisions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 235-251, September.
  9. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  10. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13, January.
  11. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1983. "Natural Oligopolies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(5), pages 1469-83, September.
  12. Navon, Ami & Shy, Oz & Thisse, Jacques-François, 1995. "Product Differentiation in the Presence of Positive and Negative Network Effects," CEPR Discussion Papers 1306, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Jaskold Gabszewicz, J. & Thisse, J. -F., 1979. "Price competition, quality and income disparities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 340-359, June.
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