On the role of consumer expectations in markets with network effects
We analyze the role of consumer expectations in a Hotelling model of price competition when products exhibit network effects. Expectations can be strong (stubborn), weak (price-sensitive) or partially stubborn (a mix of weak and strong). As a rule, the price-sensitivity of demand declines when expectations are more stubborn. An increase of stubbornness i) reduces competition, ii) increases (decreases) the parameter region with a unique duopoly equilibrium (multiple equilibria), iii) reduces the conflict between consumer and social preferences for de facto standardization, and iv) reduces the misalignment between consumer and social preferences for compatibility.
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