On the role of consumer expectations in markets with network effects
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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) increases (decreases) the parameter region with a unique duopoly equilibrium (multiple equilibria), (ii) reduces competition, (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.
KeywordsNetwork effects Expectations Duopoly Compatibility Welfare
JEL ClassificationD43 D84 L13
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