IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

On the (Mis-) Alignment of Consumer and Social Welfare 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Irina Suleymanova & Christian Wey, 2008. "On the (Mis-) Alignment of Consumer and Social Welfare in Markets with Network Effects," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 794, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp794

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Farrell, Joseph & Saloner, Garth, 1992. "Converters, Compatibility, and the Control of Interfaces," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 9-35, March.
    2. Farrell, Joseph & Klemperer, Paul, 2007. "Coordination and Lock-In: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
    3. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-440, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Bertrand duopoly; network effects; (In-) compatibility; welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:diw:diwwpp:dp794. 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: (Bibliothek). 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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.