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Bertrand competition in markets with network effects and switching costs

  • Suleymanova, Irina
  • Wey, Christian

We analyze Bertrand duopoly competition in markets with network effects and consumer switching costs. Depending on the ratio of switching costs to network effects, our modelerates four different market patterns: monopolization and market sharing which can be either monotone or alternating. A critical mass effect, where one firm becomes the monopolist for sure only occurs for intermediate values of the ratio, whereas for large switching costs market sharing is the unique equilibrium. For large network effcts both monopoly and market sharing equilibria exist. Our welfare analysis reveals a fundamental conflict between maximization of consumer surplus and social welfare when network effects are large. We also analyze firms' incentives for compatibility and we examine how market outcomes are affected by the switching costs, market expansion, and cost asymmetries. Finally, in a dynamic extension of our model, we show how competition depends on agents' discount factors.

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Paper provided by Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) in its series DICE Discussion Papers with number 30.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:dicedp:30
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  1. Farrell, Joseph & Klemperer, Paul, 2007. "Coordination and Lock-In: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
  2. Liebowitz, S J & Margolis, Stephen E, 1990. "The Fable of the Keys," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-25, April.
  3. Neil Gandal, 2002. "Compatibility, Standardization, and Network Effects: Some Policy Implications," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 80-91, Spring.
  4. Farrell, Joseph & Shapiro, Carl, 1988. "Dynamic Competition with Switching Costs," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1h02g9q4, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  5. Suleymanova, Irina & Wey, Christian, 2010. "On the role of consumer expectations in markets with network effects," DICE Discussion Papers 13, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  6. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Installed Base and Compatibility With Implications for Product Preannouncements," Working papers 385, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Gandal, Neil & Salant, David & Waverman, Leonard, 0. "Standards in wireless telephone networks," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5-6), pages 325-332, June.
  8. Grilo, Isabel & Shy, Oz & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 2001. "Price competition when consumer behavior is characterized by conformity or vanity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 385-408, June.
  9. Caminal, Ramon & Matutes, Carmen, 1990. "Endogenous switching costs in a duopoly model," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 353-373, September.
  10. Matthew Mitchell & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2006. "Network externalities and long-run market shares," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 621-648, November.
  11. Beggs, Alan & Klemperer, Paul, 1990. "Multi-Period Competition with Switching Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 436, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Klemperer, Paul, 1987. "Markets with Consumer Switching Costs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 375-94, May.
  13. Klemperer, Paul, 1995. "Competition When Consumers Have Switching Costs: An Overview with Applications to Industrial Organization, Macroeconomics, and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 515-39, October.
  14. A. E. Fernández Jilberto, 1991. "Introduction," International Journal of Political Economy, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 21(1), pages 3-9, April.
  15. Padilla A. Jorge, 1995. "Revisiting Dynamic Duopoly with Consumer Switching Costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 520-530, December.
  16. Rossella Argenziano, 2007. "Differentiated Networks: Equilibrium and Efficiency," Economics Discussion Papers 638, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  17. Farrell, Joseph, 1989. "Converters, Compatibility, and the Control of Interfaces," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8161p50b, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  18. 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.
  19. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
  20. Angelique Augereau & Shane Greenstein & Marc Rysman, 2006. "Coordination versus differentiation in a standards war: 56K modems," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 887-909, December.
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