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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. 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.
  2. GRILO, Isabel & SHY, Oz & THISSE, Jacques-François, 1997. "Price competition when consumer behavior is characterized by conformity or vanity," CORE Discussion Papers 1997032, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. 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.
  4. Farrell, Joseph & Klemperer, Paul, 2007. "Coordination and Lock-In: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
  5. Joseph Farrell and Garth Saloner., 1989. "Converters, Compatibility, and the Control of Interfaces," Economics Working Papers 89-130, University of California at Berkeley.
  6. Joseph Farrell and Carl Shapiro., 1988. "Dynamic Competition with Switching Costs," Economics Working Papers 8865, University of California at Berkeley.
  7. Rossella Argenziano, 2008. "Differentiated networks: equilibrium and efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(3), pages 747-769.
  8. Skrzypacz, Andrzej & Mitchell, Matthew F., 2005. "Network Externalities and Long-Run Market Shares," Research Papers 1879, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  9. Paul Klemperer, 1987. "Markets with Consumer Switching Costs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 375-394.
  10. Beggs, Alan & Klemperer, Paul, 1990. "Multi-Period Competition with Switching Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 436, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1986. "Installed Base and Compatibility, With Implications for Product Preannouncements," Working papers 411, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  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. 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.
  16. Padilla A. Jorge, 1995. "Revisiting Dynamic Duopoly with Consumer Switching Costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 520-530, December.
  17. Cusumano, Michael A. & Mylonadis, Yiorgos & Rosenbloom, Richard S., 1992. "Strategic Maneuvering and Mass-Market Dynamics: The Triumph of VHS over Beta," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(01), pages 51-94, March.
  18. Irina Suleymanova & Christian Wey, 2008. "On the (Mis-) Alignment of Consumer and Social Welfare in Markets with Network Effects," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 794, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  19. A. E. Fernández Jilberto, 1991. "Introduction," International Journal of Political Economy, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 21(1), pages 3-9, April.
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  21. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
  22. Gandal, Neil & Salant, David & Waverman, Leonard, 0. "Standards in wireless telephone networks," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5-6), pages 325-332, June.
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