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Barriers to network-specific innovation

  • Antoine Martin
  • Michael J. Orlando

We examine incentives for network-specific investment and the implications for network governance. We model an environment in which participants that make payments over a network can invest in a technology that reduces the marginal cost of using the network. A network effect results in multiple equilibria; either all agents invest and network usage is high or no agents invest and network usage is low. When commitment is feasible, the high-use equilibrium can be implemented; however, when commitment is infeasible, fixed costs associated with use of the network-specific technology result in a holdup problem that implements the low-investment equilibrium. Thus, governance structures necessary to achieve commitment will be preferred to those necessary merely to achieve coordination. For example, mutual ownership by network users may emerge where users face risk of ex post renegotiation. Such a governance structure will also be sufficient to avoid the network effect.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 221.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:221
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  1. Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Discussion Papers 471, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Grout, Paul A, 1984. "Investment and Wages in the Absence of Binding Contracts: A Nash Bargining Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 449-60, March.
  3. Klein, Benjamin, 1988. "Vertical Integration as Organizational Ownership: The Fisher Body-General Motors Relationship Revisited," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 199-213, Spring.
  4. Julian Wright, 2001. "The Determinants of Optimal Interchange Fees in Payment Systems," Industrial Organization 0108001, EconWPA.
  5. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Triole, 2002. "Platform competition in two sided markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24929, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1984. "Standardization, Compatibility and Innovation," Working papers 345, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Jean‐Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Two‐sided markets: a progress report," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(3), pages 645-667, 09.
  8. Cardillo, Matthew & Martin, Antoine & Orland0, Michael, 2004. "Innovation on networks: Coordination, governance, and the case of VISA," Journal of Financial Transformation, Capco Institute, vol. 12, pages 104-106.
  9. Schiff, Aaron, 2003. "Open and closed systems of two-sided networks," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 425-442, December.
  10. Klepper, Steven, 1996. "Entry, Exit, Growth, and Innovation over the Product Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 562-83, June.
  11. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-40, June.
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