IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/7154.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Economic growth and the design of search engines

Author

Listed:
  • Saint-Paul, Gilles

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

  • Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2009. "Economic growth and the design of search engines," CEPR Discussion Papers 7154, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7154
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=7154
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sridhar, Kala Seetharan & Sridhar, Varadharajan, 2007. "Telecommunications Infrastructure And Economic Growth: Evidence From Developing Countries," Applied Econometrics and International Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 7(2), pages 37-56.
    2. McFadden, Daniel L., 1984. "Econometric analysis of qualitative response models," Handbook of Econometrics,in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 24, pages 1395-1457 Elsevier.
    3. Dewenter Ralf & Haucap Justus, 2008. "Demand Elasticities for Mobile Telecommunications in Austria," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, pages 49-63.
    4. Torero, Maximo & Chowdhury, Shyamal K. & Galdo, Virgilio, 2003. "Willingness to pay for the rural telephone service in Bangladesh and Peru," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 327-361, September.
    5. Kenneth E. Train & Daniel L. McFadden & Moshe Ben-Akiva, 1987. "The Demand for Local Telephone Service: A Fully Discrete Model of Residential Calling Patterns and Service Choices," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 109-123.
    6. Dewenter, Ralf & Haucap, Justus, 2004. "Estimating Demand Elasticities for Mobile Telecommunications in Austria," Working Paper 33/2004, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
    7. Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 242-262.
    8. McKenzie, David J & Small, John P, 1997. "Econometric Cost Structure Estimates for Cellular Telephony in the United States," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 147-157, September.
    9. Ivaldi, Marc & Verboven, Frank, 2005. "Quantifying the effects from horizontal mergers in European competition policy," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(9-10), pages 669-691, December.
    10. Castro Martins, Maria Lurdes, 2003. "International differences in telecommunications demand," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 291-303, September.
    11. Foreman, R Dean & Beauvais, Edward, 1999. "Scale Economies in Cellular Telephony: Size Matters," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 297-306, November.
    12. Wolak, Frank A., 1996. "Can universal service survive in a competitive telecommunications environment? Evidence from the United States consumer expenditure survey," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 163-203, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Advertising; Endogenous Growth; Internet; Quality Ladders; R and D; Search Engines; Selection;

    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:cpr:ceprdp:7154. 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: .

    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.