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Advertising as Distortion of Learning in Markets with Network Externalities

  • Brekke, Kjell Arne


    (The Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)

  • Rege, Mari


    (University of Stavanger)

We present a theory of how advertising can break a lock-in by distorting beliefs about market shares in markets with network externalities. On the background of the availability heuristic we assume that people learn about market shares by observing product adoption of others, but are not able to fully distinguish between observations of real people and …ctitious characters in advertisements. We look at a game between an incumbent and an entrant producing close substitutes. Our analysis shows that if the entrant’s product is of su¢ ciently high quality, then the entrant will use advertising in order to break the lock-in and the incumbent will not advertise at all. However, if the quality di¤erential between the two products is small, then the incumbent may advertise and make it unpro…table for the entrant to break the lock-in.

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Paper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 24/2006.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 23 Nov 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2006_024
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
Phone: 22 85 51 27
Fax: 22 85 50 35
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  1. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2005. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," NBER Working Papers 11755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Salop, Steven C, 1979. "Strategic Entry Deterrence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 335-38, May.
  3. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Installed Base and Compatibility With Implications for Product Preannouncements," Working papers 385, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-40, June.
  5. Gale, John & Binmore, Kenneth G. & Samuelson, Larry, 1995. "Learning to be imperfect: The ultimatum game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 56-90.
  6. repec:att:wimass:9325 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Ivan Pastine & Tuvana Pastine, 2002. "Comsumption Externalities, Coordination, and Advertising," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(3), pages 919-943, August.
  8. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1992. "Product Introduction with Network Externalities," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 55-83, March.
  9. Schmalensee, Richard, 1983. "Advertising and Entry Deterrence: An Exploratory Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 636-53, August.
  10. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:95:y:1980:i:3:p:493-507 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Bagwell, Kyle & Ramey, Garey, 1990. "Advertising and pricing to deter or accommodate entry when demand is unknown," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 93-113.
  12. Needham, Douglas, 1976. "Entry Barriers and Non-Price Aspects of Firms' Behavior," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 29-43, September.
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