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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 Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE), University of Düsseldorf 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. Beggs, Alan & Klemperer, Paul, 1990. "Multi-Period Competition with Switching Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 436, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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.
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  7. Argenziano, Rossella, 2007. "Differentiated Networks: Equilibrium and Efficiency," Economics Discussion Papers 2646, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
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  9. Joseph Farrell and Carl Shapiro., 1988. "Dynamic Competition with Switching Costs," Economics Working Papers 8865, University of California at Berkeley.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Padilla A. Jorge, 1995. "Revisiting Dynamic Duopoly with Consumer Switching Costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 520-530, December.
  13. Paul Klemperer, 1987. "Markets with Consumer Switching Costs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 375-394.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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  17. Paul Klemperer, 1995. "Competition when Consumers have Switching Costs: An Overview with Applications to Industrial Organization, Macroeconomics, and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(4), pages 515-539.
  18. Suleymanova, Irina & Wey, Christian, 2010. "On the role of consumer expectations in markets with network effects," DICE Discussion Papers 13, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE), University of Düsseldorf.
  19. Gandal, Neil & Salant, David & Waverman, Leonard, 0. "Standards in wireless telephone networks," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5-6), pages 325-332, June.
  20. 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.
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