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On the role of consumer expectations in markets with network effects

  • Irina Suleymanova

    ()

  • Christian Wey

    ()

We analyze duopoly Bertrand competition under network effects. We consider both incompatible and compatible products. Our main result is that network effects create a fundamental conflict between the maximization of social welfare and consumer surplus whenever products are incompatible. While consumer surplus is highest in the symmetric equilibrium, social welfare is highest in the asymmetric equilibrium. We also show that both consumer surplus and social welfare are higher in any equilibrium under compatibility when compared with incompatible products. However, .firms never have strict incentives to achieve compatibility. Finally, we show the robustness of our results when products are horizontally differentiated.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00712-011-0223-y
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 105 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 101-127

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jeczfn:v:105:y:2012:i:2:p:101-127
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=108909

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  1. 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.
  2. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 1997. "Snobs, bandwagons, and the origin of social customs in consumer behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 333-347, March.
  3. Eirik Kristiansen & Marcel Thum, 1997. "R&D incentives in compatible networks," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 65(1), pages 55-78, February.
  4. Grilo, Isabel & Shy, Oz & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 2001. "Price competition when consumer behavior is characterized by conformity or vanity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 385-408, June.
  5. Paul Klemperer & Joseph Farrell, 2006. "Coordination and Lock-In: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," Economics Series Working Papers 2006-W07, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521805001 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. 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.
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521800952 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 1997. "Conspicuous consumption, snobbism and conformism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 55-71, October.
  10. Becker, Gary S, 1991. "A Note on Restaurant Pricing and Other Examples of Social Influences on Price," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1109-16, October.
  11. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-40, June.
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