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Equilibrium Innovation Ecosystems: The Dark Side of Collaborating with Complementors

The recent years have exhibited a burst in the amount of collaborative activities among firms selling complementary products. This paper aims at providing a rationale for such a large extent of collaboration ties among complementors. To this end, we analyze a game in which the two producers of a certain component have the possibility to form pairwise collaboration ties with each of the two producers of a complementary component. Once ties are formed, each of the four firms decides how much to invest in improving the quality of the match with each possible complementor, under the assumption that a firm with a collaboration link with a complementor puts some weight on the complementor's profit when making investment decisions. Once investment choices have taken place, all firms choose prices for their respective components in a noncooperative manner. In equilibrium, firms end up forming as many collaboration ties as it is possible, although they would all prefer a scenario where collaboration were forbidden. In addition, a social planner would also prefer such a scenario to the one arising in equilibrium. We show that the result that collaboration is inefficient for firms and society does not depend on whether collaboration ties are formed in an exclusive manner: in fact, exclusivity would only worsen the situation.

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Paper provided by NET Institute in its series Working Papers with number 11-31.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1131
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  1. Francis Bloch, 1995. "Endogenous Structures of Association in Oligopolies," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(3), pages 537-556, Autumn.
  2. Andrea Mantovani & Francisco Ruiz-Aliseda, 2011. "Equilibrium Innovation Ecosystems: The Dark Side of Collaborating with Complementors," Working Papers 11-31, NET Institute.
  3. Economides, Nicholas & Salop, Steven C, 1992. "Competition and Integration among Complements, and Network Market Structure," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 105-23, March.
  4. Jay Pil Choi, 2008. "MERGERS WITH BUNDLING IN COMPLEMENTARY MARKETS -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 553-577, 09.
  5. Denicolo, Vincenzo, 2000. "Compatibility and Bundling with Generalist and Specialist Firms," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 177-88, June.
  6. Annabelle Gawer & Rebecca Henderson, 2007. "Platform Owner Entry and Innovation in Complementary Markets: Evidence from Intel," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(1), pages 1-34, 03.
  7. Yongmin Chen & Michael H. Riordan, 2007. "Price and Variety in the Spokes Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(522), pages 897-921, 07.
  8. Carmen Matutes & Pierre Regibeau, 1988. ""Mix and Match": Product Compatibility without Network Externalities," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(2), pages 221-234, Summer.
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