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Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Working Paper Series
Network externalities and technology adoption: lessons from electronic payments
Gautam Gowrisankaran
Joanna Stavins
Abstract

We seek to analyze the extent and sources of network externalities for the automated clearinghouse (ACH) electronic payments system using a quarterly panel data set on individual bank adoption and usage of ACH. We provide three methods to identify network externalities using this panel data. The first method identifies network externalities from the clustering of ACH adoption. The second method identifies them by examining whether banks in areas with higher market concentration or larger competitors are more likely to adopt ACH. The third method identifies them by examining whether the ACH adoption by small branches of large banks affects the adoption by local competitors. Using fixed effects and panel data these methods separately identify network externalities from technological advancement, peer-group effects, economies of scale and market power. We find evidence that the network externalities are moderately large.


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Gautam Gowrisankaran & Joanna Stavins, Network externalities and technology adoption: lessons from electronic payments, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Working Paper Series 2002-16, 2002.
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Keywords: Electronic funds transfers ; Clearinghouses (Banking)
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