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Standardization, Compatibility, and Innovation

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  • Joseph Farrell
  • Garth Saloner

Abstract

There are often benefits to consumers and to firms from standardization of a product. We examine whether these standardization benefits can "trap" an industry in an obsolete or inferior standard when there is a better alternative available. With complete information and identical preferences among firms the answer is no; but when information is incomplete this "excess inertia" can occur. We also discuss the extent to which the problem can be overcome by communication.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Standardization, Compatibility, and Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 70-83, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:16:y:1985:i:spring:p:70-83
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kenneth L. Judd, 2003. "Closed-loop equilibrium in a multi-stage innovation race," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 21(2), pages 673-695, March.
    2. Dasgupta, Partha & Stiglitz, Joseph, 1980. "Industrial Structure and the Nature of Innovative Activity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 266-293, June.
    3. Tom Lee & Louis L. Wilde, 1980. "Market Structure and Innovation: A Reformulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(2), pages 429-436.
    4. Christopher Harris & John Vickers, 1985. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Model of a Race," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 193-209.
    5. Fudenberg, Drew & Gilbert, Richard & Stiglitz, Joseph & Tirole, Jean, 1983. "Preemption, leapfrogging and competition in patent races," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-31, June.
    6. Robert E. Lucas, Jr., 1971. "Optimal Management of a Research and Development Project," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(11), pages 679-697, July.
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