Working paper 03/085 - Abstract

A Simple Inducement Scheme to Overcome Adoption Externalities (PDF, file 293 KB) (PDF, 293kB)

Potential customers of network commodities face coordination problems due to adoption externalities that give rise to multiple, Pareto-ranked equilibria. We investigate the extent to which the coordination problem can be resolved by inducement schemes when agents' preferences are private information. Specifically, we show that all symmetric "cut-off strategy" profiles (agents adopt if and only if their type is below a threshold) constitute the set of profiles that can be implemented as a unique equilibrium under an inducement scheme. We derive the ex ante cost of implementing each such profile. Furthermore, we fully characterize the set of inducement schemes that I) implement each such profile and ii) have the following simple form: each scheme specifies a fixed fee that every adopter pays, and a fixed gross subsidy/prize to be randomly allocated to (or evenly split among) the adopters. We discuss the implications of these findings on the design of optimal schemes for different network organizers, namely, private entrepreneurs and public entities.

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