IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Lock-in, path dependence, and the Internationalization of QWERTY


  • Neil M., Kay


This paper looks at the emergence of what is described here as the QWERTY family of standards (QWERTY and its international adaptations QZERTY, AZERTY, and QWERTZ). QWERTY has been described as an inferior solution and an accident of history. However, the analysis here finds that each member of the family represented highly efficient adaptations to specific user needs and technical challenges encountered in their own environments. These findings may be seen to have wider implications given QWERTY’s role as paradigm case in the literature on increasing returns and path dependence, and these are pursued in the paper

Suggested Citation

  • Neil M., Kay, 2013. "Lock-in, path dependence, and the Internationalization of QWERTY," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-41, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  • Handle: RePEc:edn:sirdps:468

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lewin, Peter, 2001. "The Market Process and the Economics of QWERTY: Two Views," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 14(1), pages 65-96, March.
    2. Raghu Garud & Arun Kumaraswamy & Peter Karnøe, 2010. "Path Dependence or Path Creation?," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 760-774, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Liebowitz, S J & Margolis, Stephen E, 1995. "Path Dependence, Lock-in, and History," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 205-226, April.
    5. Michael L. Katz & Carl Shapiro, 1994. "Systems Competition and Network Effects," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 93-115, Spring.
    6. Page, Scott E., 2006. "Path Dependence," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 1(1), pages 87-115, January.
    7. Andreas Reinstaller & Werner Hölzl, 2009. "Big causes and small events: QWERTY and the mechanization of office work," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(5), pages 999-1031, October.
    8. Jean-Philippe Vergne & Rodolphe Durand, 2010. "The Missing Link Between the Theory and Empirics of Path Dependence: Conceptual Clarification, Testability Issue, and Methodological Implications," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 736-759, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    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:edn:sirdps:468. 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: (Research Office). 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.