Peer Influence in Network Markets: An Empirical Investigation

Jörn H. Block, Philipp Köllinger
2007 Schmalenbach Business Review  
AND KEYWORDS Abstract We analyze the effect of peer influence on the diffusion of an innovative network good. We argue that the adopters of a network good have an incentive to convince others to purchase the same product because their utility depends on the number of other users. This peer-effect influences individuals' adoption decisions alongside the more familiar installed-base-effect, based on the individual's own insight that a larger number of installed units increases his/her benefit of
more » ... dopting. We test empirically which effect dominates with Instant Messaging, an innovative network good. We arrive at surprising results with far-reaching implications for research and management. The diffusion of Instant Messaging was to a large extent driven by the peer-effect, but the installed-base-effect seemed to play no role. We perform our estimation with a discrete time hazard rate model that controls for unobserved heterogeneity. Abstract: We analyze the effect of peer influence on the diffusion of an innovative network good. We argue that the adopters of a network good have an incentive to convince others to purchase the same product because their utility depends on the number of other users. This peer-effect influences individuals' adoption decisions alongside the more familiar installed-base-effect, based on the individual's own insight that a larger number of installed units increases his/her benefit of adopting. We test empirically which effect dominates with Instant Messaging, an innovative network good. We arrive at surprising results with far-reaching implications for research and management. The diffusion of Instant Messaging was to a large extent driven by the peer-effect, but the installed-base-effect seemed to play no role. We perform our estimation with a discrete time hazard rate model that controls for unobserved heterogeneity. JEL-Classification: M3, D12, O32. an anonymous reviewer, and participants of the CEFS-ODEON seminar in Munich for valuable comments and suggestions.
doi:10.1007/bf03396755 fatcat:ecspxrjbpzhujpz4nooij43mk4