Shared Information Goods
Once purchased, information goods are often shared within small social communities. Software and music, for example, can be easily shared among family or friends. In this paper, we ask whether such sharing will undermine seller profit. We reach several surprising conclusions. We find, for example, that under certain circumstances sharing will markedly increase profit even if sharing is inefficient in the sense that it is more expensive for consumers to distribute the good via sharing than it would be for the producer to simply produce additional units. Conversely, we find that sharing can markedly decrease profit even where sharing reduces net distribution costs. These results contrast with much of the prior literature on small-scale sharing, but are consistent with results obtained in related work on the topic of commodity bundling. Our findings highlight the relative importance of demand reshaping, as opposed to cost considerations, in determining the profitability effects of sharing. Copyright 1999 by the University of Chicago.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Besen, Stanley M & Kirby, Sheila Nataraj, 1989. "Private Copying, Appropriability, and Optimal Copying Royalties," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 255-280, October.
- Benjamin, Daniel K & Kormendi, Roger C, 1974. "The Interrelationship between Markets for New and Used Durable Goods," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 381-401, October.
- Schmalensee, Richard, 1984. "Gaussian Demand and Commodity Bundling," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(1), pages 211-230, January.
- Besen, Stanley M., 1986. "Private copying, reproduction costs, and the supply of intellectual property," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 5-22.
- Barro, Robert J & Romer, Paul M, 1987. "Ski-Lift Pricing, with Applications to Labor and Other," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 875-890, December.
- Liebowitz, S J, 1985. "Copying and Indirect Appropriability: Photocopying of Journals," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 945-957, October.
- Novos, Ian E & Waldman, Michael, 1984. "The Effects of Increased Copyright Protection: An Analytic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 236-246, April.
- Fernando Nascimento & Wilfried R. Vanhonacker, 1988. "Optimal Strategic Pricing of Reproducible Consumer Products," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(8), pages 921-937, August.
- Yannis Bakos & Erik Brynjolfsson, 1999.
"Bundling Information Goods: Pricing, Profits, and Efficiency,"
INFORMS, vol. 45(12), pages 1613-1630, December.
- Yannis Bakos & Erik Brynjolfsson, 1997. "Bundling Information Goods: Pricing, Profits and Efficiency," Working Paper Series 199, MIT Center for Coordination Science.
- Kathleen Reavis Conner & Richard P. Rumelt, 1991. "Software Piracy: An Analysis of Protection Strategies," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(2), pages 125-139, February.
- R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan & Michael D. Whinston, 1989. "Multiproduct Monopoly, Commodity Bundling, and Correlation of Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 371-383.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:42:y:1999:i:1:p:117-55. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.