Re: Re: Krugman on Gould, et al.
Thu, 4 Mar 1999 02:19:58 EST

[An aside more important to me than what follows herein: I believe that Robin Hanson deserves a hearty "Huzzah!" for his upcoming career move. But I'll let him tell us more, if he so chooses.]

I'd criticized Krugman's analysis of network effects both for using the wrong terminology (calling it "externalities") and for failing to adequately accomodate new evidence regarding the QWERTY myth. Robin Hanson wrote:

>Searching for "Liebowitz Margolis network effects" at AltaVista gets me this
>10/98 CATO policy analysis:

The criticisms of those authors regarding the misnomer "network externalities" comes in other, earlier work. I believe that it is available online, via one or both of the author's academic homepages, though I read it in hardcopy texts. An earlier Liebowitz & Margolis text--the Reason piece?--also claimed that Krugman was deliberately avoiding facts about his beloved QWERTY case. Liebowitz & Margolis are perhaps now sensitive to Krugman's latter-day conversion because they think that they deserve some credit for forcing it upon him. The allegation that Krugman wrongly took credit for discovering the network effect came from another source, as I recall--that fellow at Stanford; Paul, is it?

>These authors don't complain about the phrase "network externality", and I
>see no reason to complain either.

As I noted, they do complain about the phrase, though perhaps not in the work you looked at. I've typed and erased a few clumsy attempts to paraphrase their argument; better I should leave it to someone more expert than I. I left my collection of Liebowitz & Margolis papers at my other office, however, or else I would offer you a helpful quote.