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Avoiding Market Dominance: Product Compatibility in Markets with Network Effects

  • Jiawei Chen
  • Ulrich Doraszelski
  • Joseph E. Harrington, Jr.

As is well-recognized, market dominance is a typical outcome in markets with network effects. A firm with a larger installed base others a more attractive product which induces more consumers to buy its product which produces a yet bigger installed base advantage. Such a setting is investigated here but with the main difference that firms have the option of making their products compatible. When firms have similar installed bases, they make their products compatible in order to expand the market. Nevertheless, random forces could result in one firm having a bigger installed base in which case the larger firm may make its product incompatible. We find that strategic pricing tends to prevent the installed base differential from expanding to the point that incompatibility occurs. This pricing dynamic is able to neutralize increasing returns and avoid the emergence of market dominance.

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Paper provided by The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number 537.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:jhu:papers:537
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  1. Choi, J.P., 1994. "Do Converters Facilitate the Transition to a New Incompatible Technology?: A Dynamic Analysis of Converters," Discussion Papers 1994_04, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  2. David Besanko & Ulrich Doraszelski, 2002. "Capacity Dynamics and Endogenous Asymmetries in Firm Size," Computing in Economics and Finance 2002 196, Society for Computational Economics.
  3. Skrzypacz, Andrzej & Mitchell, Matthew F., 2005. "Network Externalities and Long-Run Market Shares," Research Papers 1879, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  4. Choi, Jay Pil, 1997. "The Provision of (Two-Way) Converters in the Transition Process to a New Incompatible Technology," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 139-53, June.
  5. Joseph Farrell and Garth Saloner., 1989. "Converters, Compatibility, and the Control of Interfaces," Economics Working Papers 89-130, University of California at Berkeley.
  6. 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.
  7. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1984. "Standardization, Compatibility and Innovation," Working papers 345, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Ariel Pakes & Paul McGuire, 1994. "Computing Markov-Perfect Nash Equilibria: Numerical Implications of a Dynamic Differentiated Product Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(4), pages 555-589, Winter.
  9. Farrell, Joseph & Klemperer, Paul, 2007. "Coordination and Lock-In: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
  10. Gerard Llobet & Michael Manove, 2006. "Network Size and Network Capture," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-007, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  11. Luis M.B. Cabral & Michael Riordan, 1992. "The Learning Curve, Market Dominance and Predatory Pricing," Papers 0039, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  12. Chen, Jiawei, 2009. "The effects of mergers with dynamic capacity accumulation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 92-109, January.
  13. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-40, June.
  14. Nicholas Economides & Fredrick Flyer, 1997. "Compatibility and Market Structure for Network Goods," Working Papers 98-02, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  15. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Product Compatibility Choice in a Market with Technological Progress," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(0), pages 146-65, Suppl. No.
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