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Optimal Pricing and Quality of Academic Journals and the Ambiguous Welfare Effects of Forced Open Access: A Two-Sided Model

  • Frank Mueller-Langer
  • Richard Watt

We analyse optimal pricing and quality of a monopolistic journal and the optimality of open access in a two-sided model. The predominant aspect of the model that determines the quality levels at which open access is optimal is the nature of the (non-linear) externalities between readers and authors in a journal. We show that there exist scenarios in which open access is a feature of high-quality journals. Besides, we find that the removal of copyright (and thus forced open access) will likely increase both readership and authorship, will decrease journal profits, and may increase social welfare.

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File URL: http://ratswd.de/dl/RatSWD_WP_223.pdf
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Paper provided by German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD) in its series Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data with number 223.

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Length: 29
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rsw:rswwps:rswwps223
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.ratswd.de/eng/index.htmlEmail:


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  1. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1992. "The Young Economist's Guide to Professional Etiquette," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 169-179, Winter.
  2. Heintzelman Martin & Nocetti Diego, 2009. "Where Should we Submit our Manuscript? An Analysis of Journal Submission Strategies," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-28, September.
  3. Müller-Langer, Frank & Watt, Richard, 2010. "Copyright and Open Access for Academic Works," MPRA Paper 24095, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:668-691 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Doh-Shin Jeon & Jean-Charles Rochet, 2010. "The Pricing of Academic Journals: A Two-Sided Market Perspective," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 222-55, May.
  6. Mark J. McCabe & Christopher M. Snyder, 2005. "Open Access and Academic Journal Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 453-459, May.
  7. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:645-667 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Cooperation Among Competitors: Some Economics Of Payment Card Associations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 549-570, Winter.
  9. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:12:y:2004:i:10:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Mark McCabe, 2004. "Information goods and endogenous pricing strategies: the case of academic journals," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 12(10), pages 1-11.
  11. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 2001. "Free Labour for Costly Journals?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 183-198, Fall.
  12. Oster, Sharon, 1980. "The Optimal Order for Submitting Manuscripts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 444-48, June.
  13. McCabe Mark J & Snyder Christopher M., 2007. "Academic Journal Prices in a Digital Age: A Two-Sided Market Model," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-39, January.
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