Evolving Technologies and Standards Regulation
Luis M. B. Cabral
New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
David J. Salant
Toulouse School of Economics; Columbia University - Columbia Institute for Tele Information; Center for Research in Wireless Communications
Spectrum regulation necessarily involves some regulation of the technology that licensees can use. One commonly stated assertion is that a mandated single standard, the solution followed by the EU for 2G wireless, is a successful model for spectrum regulation. We argue that a single standard leads to a free riding problem, and thus to a significant decrease in marginal incentives for R&D investment. In this context, keeping two separate standards may be a necessary evil to sustain a high level of R&D expenditures. We also provide conditions such that a non-standardization equilibrium is better for consumers and for society as a whole.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Date posted: April 15, 2008