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Destructive Creation

  • Calvano, Emilio

    ()

    (GREMAQ, Université de Toulouse 1 and Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

"Destructive Creation" is the deliberate introduction of new, perhaps improved generations of durable goods that destroy, directly or indirectly, the usage value of units previously sold inducing consumers to repeat their purchase. This paper discusses this practice by a single seller in an infinite-horizon, discrete time model with heterogeneous consumers. Despite the lack of commitment power over future prices and introduction policies, this practice restores partially or totally market power even though consumers anticipate opportunistic behavior. However, the monopoly resorts "too much" to this mechanism from an ex-ante, profit maximizing perspective. High prices in earlier periods allow the seller to commit to defer innovation and therefore to maintain buyers' confidence over "durability". The paper characterizes the equilibrium properties of the resulting innovation cycles such as existence, uniqueness and asymptotic stability and discusses potential regulatory remedies in those instances where destructive creation generates economic inefficiencies. This theory applies, among others, to markets characterized by network externalities, compatibility issues, standard setting, social consumption and signal provision and may help explain many restrictive aftermarket practices as well as excessive add-on pricing without relying on any leverage hypothesis.

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File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/hastef/papers/hastef0653.pdf
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Paper provided by Stockholm School of Economics in its series SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance with number 653.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 22 Dec 2006
Date of revision: 18 Jul 2007
Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0653
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  1. Waldman, Michael, 1993. "A New Perspective on Planned Obsolescence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(1), pages 273-83, February.
  2. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
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  9. Lee, In Ho & Lee, Jonghwa, 1998. "A Theory of Economic Obsolescence," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 383-401, September.
  10. Gul, Faruk & Sonnenschein, Hugo & Wilson, Robert, 1986. "Foundations of dynamic monopoly and the coase conjecture," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 155-190, June.
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  12. Bagwell, Laurie Simon & Bernheim, B Douglas, 1996. "Veblen Effects in a Theory of Conspicuous Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 349-73, June.
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  14. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Choi, Jay Pil, 1994. "Network Externality, Compatibility Choice, and Planned Obsolescence," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 167-82, June.
  16. Igal Hendel & Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Interfering with Secondary Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(1), pages 1-21, Spring.
  17. Hodaka Morita & Michael Waldman, 2004. "Durable Goods, Monopoly Maintenance, and Time Inconsistency," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 273-302, 06.
  18. Conlisk, John & Gerstner, Eitan & Sobel, Joel, 1984. "Cyclic Pricing by a Durable Goods Monopolist," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(3), pages 489-505, August.
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