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Bertrand Competition in Markets with Network Effects and Switching Costs

  • Irina Suleymanova
  • Christian Wey

We analyze market dynamics under Bertrand duopoly competition in industries with network effects and consumer switching costs. Consumers form installed bases, repeatedly buy the products, and differ with respect to their switching costs. Depending on the ratio of switching costs to network effects, our model generates convergence to monopoly as well as market sharing as equilibrium outcomes. Convergence can be monotone or alternating in both scenarios. A critical mass effect, where consumers are trapped into one technology for sure only occurs for intermediate values of switching costs, whereas for large switching costs market sharing is the unique equilibrium and for small switching costs both monopoly and market sharing equilibria emerge. We also analyze stationary and stable equilibria, where we show that a monopoly outcome is almost inevitable, if switching costs or network effects increase over time. Finally, we examine firms' incentives to make their products compatible and to create additional switching costs.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.84200.de/dp796.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 796.

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Length: 56 p.
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp796
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  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. Joseph Farrell & Paul Klemperer, 2006. "Co-ordination and Lock-in: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," Economics Papers 2006-W07, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  3. Matthew Mitchell & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2006. "Network externalities and long-run market shares," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 621-648, November.
  4. Joseph Farrell & Carl Shapiro, 1988. "Dynamic Competition with Switching Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(1), pages 123-137, Spring.
  5. Beggs, Alan & Klemperer, Paul, 1990. "Multi-Period Competition with Switching Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 436, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. GRILO, Isabel & SHY, Oz & THISSE, Jacques-François, 1997. "Price competition when consumer behavior is characterized by conformity or vanity," CORE Discussion Papers 1997032, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. Gandal, Neil & Salant, David & Waverman, Leonard, 0. "Standards in wireless telephone networks," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5-6), pages 325-332, June.
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  9. Padilla A. Jorge, 1995. "Revisiting Dynamic Duopoly with Consumer Switching Costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 520-530, December.
  10. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1986. "Installed Base and Compatibility, With Implications for Product Preannouncements," Working papers 411, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. 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.
  12. Caminal, Ramon & Matutes, Carmen, 1990. "Endogenous switching costs in a duopoly model," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 353-373, September.
  13. Angelique Augereau & Shane Greenstein & Marc Rysman, 2006. "Coordination versus differentiation in a standards war: 56K modems," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 887-909, December.
  14. Rossella Argenziano, 2007. "Differentiated Networks: Equilibrium and Efficiency," Economics Discussion Papers 638, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  15. Neil Gandal, 2002. "Compatibility, Standardization, and Network Effects: Some Policy Implications," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 80-91, Spring.
  16. Liebowitz, S J & Margolis, Stephen E, 1990. "The Fable of the Keys," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-25, April.
  17. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Technology Adoption in the Presence of Network Externalities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 822-41, August.
  18. Klemperer, Paul, 1987. "Markets with Consumer Switching Costs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 375-94, May.
  19. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
  20. Klemperer, Paul, 1995. "Competition When Consumers Have Switching Costs: An Overview with Applications to Industrial Organization, Macroeconomics, and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 515-39, October.
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