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Network effects, Compatibility and the Environment : The Case of Hydrogen Powered Cars

  • Conrad, Klaus
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    The paper addresses the problem of entry barriers for a new technology – hydrogen powered cars or cars with fuel cell engines – if the network of its filling stations is missing or thin. We use Hotelling's model of product differentiation to characterize a situation where an incumbent firm produces the old technology, compatible with the existing network of filling stations, and an entrant, who cannot use this network for its products. We assume that the entrant has to invest in remodeling existing filling stations for making them compatible. This, however, raises his costs. In the intertemporal setting of our model, the Hotelling pricing rule for exhaustible resources encourages the entrant to invest in compatibility because the price of gasoline will rise in the long run to the price of the backstop technology - fuel cells. Depending on the cost of compatibility, our model indicates three possible outcomes. Either, the costs of compatibility are too high and governmental support is required. Or the incumbent bears losses in initial periods by waiting for profits in later periods when full compatibility of the network is reached. Or the entrant benefits from the fact that the price of oil reaches the price of the backstop technology (full cells) rather soon.

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    File URL: https://ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/998/1/613.pdf
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    Paper provided by Institut fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre und Statistik, Abteilung fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre in its series Discussion Papers with number 613.

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    Date of creation: 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:mnh:vpaper:998
    Contact details of provider: Postal: D-68131 Mannheim
    Phone: +49-621-181-2773
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    Web page: http://www.vwl.uni-mannheim.de/institut/
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    1. Uri Ronnen, 1991. "Minimum Quality Standards, Fixed Costs, and Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 490-504, Winter.
    2. Nicholas Economides, 1995. "The Economics of Networks," Working Papers 94-24, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics, revised Sep 1995.
    3. Church, Jeffrey & Gandal, Neil, 1992. "Integration, Complementary Products, and Variety," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(4), pages 651-75, Winter.
    4. Church, J. & Gandal, N., 1991. "Complementary Network Externalities and Technological Adoption," Papers 5-91, Tel Aviv.
    5. Klaus Conrad, 2005. "Price Competition and Product Differentiation When Consumers Care for the Environment," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(1), pages 1-19, 05.
    6. Crampes, C. & Hollander, A., 1991. "Duopoly and Quality Standards," Cahiers de recherche 9128, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    7. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1992. "Product Introduction with Network Externalities," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 55-83, March.
    8. Anette Boom & Pio Baake, . "Vertical Product Differentiation, Network Externalities, and Compatibility Decisions," Papers 010, Departmental Working Papers.
    9. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521805001 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Michael L. Katz & Carl Shapiro, 1994. "Systems Competition and Network Effects," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 93-115, Spring.
    11. Church, Jeffrey & Gandal, Neil, 1992. "Network Effects, Software Provision, and Standardization," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 85-103, March.
    12. Church, J. & Gandal, N., 1993. "Strategic Entry Deterrence: Complementary Products as Installed Base," Papers 16-93, Tel Aviv.
    13. Bental, Benjamin & Spiegel, Menahem, 1995. "Network Competition, Product Quality, and Market Coverage in the Presence of Network Externalities," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 197-208, June.
    14. Mads Greaker, 2006. "Eco-labels, Trade and Protectionism," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 33(1), pages 1-37, 01.
    15. Chou, Chien-fu & Shy, Oz, 1990. "Network effects without network externalities," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 259-270, June.
    16. Matutes, Carmen & Regibeau, Pierre, 1996. "A selective review of the economics of standardization. Entry deterrence, technological progress and international competition," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 183-209, September.
    17. 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.
    18. Chou, Chien-fu & Shy, Oz, 1993. "Partial compatibility and supporting services," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 193-197.
    19. Belleflamme, Paul, 1998. "Adoption of network technologies in oligopolies," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 415-444, July.
    20. de Palma, Andre & Leruth, Luc, 1996. "Variable willingness to pay for network externalities with strategic standardization decisions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 235-251, September.
    21. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521800952 is not listed on IDEAS
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