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A Model of Forum Shopping, with Special Reference to Standard Setting Organizations

  • Josh Lerner
  • Jean Tirole

Owners of intellectual property or mere sponsors of an idea (e.g., authors, security issuers, sponsors of standards) often need to persuade potential buyers or adopters of the worth of their property or idea. To this purpose, they often resort to more or less independent certifiers. This paper analyzes the strategic choice of certifiers in rival and non-rival situations in a three-stage game. First, the owner/sponsor selects among potential certifiers. Certifiers differ in their degree of sympathy towards the owner/sponsor's interests relative to their concern for quality delivered to the users. Second, the certifier studies the offering and renders an opinion. The opinion consists of an endorsement (or lack thereof) and, possibly, some further demands for changes involving prices or offering characteristics. Third, the final users adopt or buy as a function of their perceived utility. In this context, the choice of certifier involves a basic trade-off: trying a tougher certifier reduces the probability of a positive opinion, but makes the users more likely to adopt the offering or willing to pay more for it in case of a positive opinion by the certifier. The paper first analyzes the sponsor's choices of certifier and design, as well as social preferences regarding these choices. More attractive standards lead to more friendly certification and fewer concessions to users. Regulation cannot improve on private choices in case of mildly attractive standards, and partial regulation reduces social welfare in case of attractive standards. Furthermore, the sponsor can costlessly delegate the design choice to the certifier when she can have her preferred choice of certifier, but must make more concessions to users than she would want to if the spectrum of certifiers is limited. The paper then extends the basic model to multiple categories of users, to the downstream presence of the sponsor, and to within-user-group network externalities. Finally, it studies strategic forum shopping by sponsors of competing standards.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10664.

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Date of creation: Aug 2004
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Publication status: published as Lerner, Josh and Jean Tirole. "A Model of Forum Shopping." American Economic Review 96 (September 2006): 1091-1113.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10664
Note: CF PR
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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
  2. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
  3. An, Mark Yuying, 1998. "Logconcavity versus Logconvexity: A Complete Characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 350-369, June.
  4. Wouter Dessein, 2002. "Authority and Communication in Organizations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 811-838.
  5. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Triole, 2002. "Platform competition in two sided markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24929, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Chemmanur, Thomas J & Fulghieri, Paolo, 1994. " Investment Bank Reputation, Information Production, and Financial Intermediation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(1), pages 57-79, March.
  7. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  8. Admati, Anat R & Pfleiderer, Paul, 1994. " Robust Financial Contracting and the Role of Venture Capitalists," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(2), pages 371-402, June.
  9. Caillaud, B. & Tirole, J., 1999. "Party governance and ideological bias," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 779-789, April.
  10. Alan D. Morrison & Lucy White, 2004. "Financial Liberalisation and Capital Regulation in Open Economies," OFRC Working Papers Series 2004fe10, Oxford Financial Research Centre.
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