IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/bbk/bbkefp/0901.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Economic Growth and the Design of Search Engines

Author

Listed:
  • Gilles Saint Paul

    (Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics, Birkbeck)

Abstract

The Internet plays a growing role in the economy. This paper extrapolates this trend and analyses a world where most transactions take place in "cyberspace". We ask the following question: how does the design of the search engine affect the incentives to innovate and the economy’s long run growth rate? This is done in the context of a "qualitative" model where growth occurs because the number of varieties grows and consumers select a shrinking fraction of the available goods, of growing quality. They must use a search engine to locate goods. The search engine affects the market size of a good over its life cycle, and thus the incentives to innovate. Its structure has two conflicting effects. A visibility effect by which a greater hit score increases market size. A selection effect by which consumers are more picky and select higher quality goods, thus reducing the life span of any given good. While these two effects on growth cancel out for simple specifications, that is no longer the case if a firm’s score is variable along its life cycle or if he search process uses resources. It is shown that the discount effect of gradual recognition of popularity tends to reduce growth. Hence, growth is enhanced if the search engine is less sensitive to popularity. Also, growth is lower when the search engine rewards "web page quality" better because of the resources diverted away from R and D into advertising. But these mechanisms generate opposite level effects on the average quality selected by consumers. As a result the net effect on welfare is ambiguous.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilles Saint Paul, 2009. "Economic Growth and the Design of Search Engines," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 0901, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bbk:bbkefp:0901
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/ems/research/wp/PDF/BWPEF0901.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2009
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Wang, Peng-fei & Wen, Yi, 2006. "Another look at sticky prices and output persistence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2533-2552, December.
    2. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2005. "Nominal Rigidities and the Dynamic Effects of a Shock to Monetary Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 1-45, February.
    3. Michael Woodford, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy inertia," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    4. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1992. "Liquidity Effects and the Monetary Transmission Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 346-353, May.
    5. Dow, James Jr., 1995. "The demand and liquidity effects of monetary shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 91-115, August.
    6. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1990. "Liquidity and interest rates," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 237-264, April.
    7. Surico, Paolo, 2008. "The Cost Channel Of Monetary Policy And Indeterminacy," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(05), pages 724-735, November.
    8. Fuerst, Timothy S., 1992. "Liquidity, loanable funds, and real activity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 3-24, February.
    9. Ravenna, Federico & Walsh, Carl E., 2006. "Optimal monetary policy with the cost channel," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 199-216, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bbk:bbkefp:0901. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://www.ems.bbk.ac.uk/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.