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The Welfare Effect of Quality Degradation in the Presence of Network Externalities


  • Jong-Hee Hahn

    () (Department of Economics, Keele University, Keele,)


This paper examines how the presence of network externalities affects a monopolist’s incentive for quality degradation and its welfare consequence. The software and the Internet service industries provide our primary motivation. The network externality may lead to a Pareto-improving quality degradation that would not be realised in the absence of network externalities. However, it may also overturn a potentially Paretoimproving quality degradation to a welfare-reducing one, or result in the realisation of a welfare-reducing quality degradation that would be avoided without network externalities. We also endogenise the firm’s forward and backward compatibility decisions between the original good and the degraded good. Key Words : Damaged Goods, Quality Degradation, Network Externalities, Compatibility,Price Discrimination, Software

Suggested Citation

  • Jong-Hee Hahn, 2001. "The Welfare Effect of Quality Degradation in the Presence of Network Externalities," Keele Department of Economics Discussion Papers (1995-2001) 2001/08, Department of Economics, Keele University, revised Feb 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:kee:keeldp:2001/08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nicholas Economides, 1997. "The Economics of Networks," Brazilian Electronic Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, vol. 1(0), December.
    2. Choi, Jay Pil, 1994. "Network Externality, Compatibility Choice, and Planned Obsolescence," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 167-182, June.
    3. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
    4. Cabral, Luis M. B. & Salant, David J. & Woroch, Glenn A., 1999. "Monopoly pricing with network externalities," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 199-214, February.
    5. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-440, June.
    6. Raymond J. Deneckere & R. Preston McAfee, 1996. "Damaged Goods," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(2), pages 149-174, June.
    7. Bensaid, Bernard & Lesne, Jean-Philippe, 1996. "Dynamic monopoly pricing with network externalities," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 837-855, October.
    8. Michael Waldman, 1993. "A New Perspective on Planned Obsolescence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(1), pages 273-283.
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    Cited by:

    1. Corrado Benassi & Marcella Scrimitore, 2017. "Income Distribution in Network Markets," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 251-271, September.
    2. Jong‐Hee Hahn, 2006. "Damaged durable goods," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 121-133, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software


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