Do people get stuck on QWERTY?

No, and Hossain and Morgan explain their tests:

In this paper, we offer new evidence regarding the economic importance of QWERTY type outcomes. We use laboratory experiments to study platform competition. Experiments have several advantages in studying platform competition: the identity of the inferior platform is clearly defined; the degree to which a platform has a “head start” is controlled; and the “life cycle” of platform competition is reproducible. So far as we are aware, we are the first to study QWERTY in the lab.

We can easily summarize our results: Somehow, the market always manages to solve the QWERTY problem. In sixty iterations of dynamic platform competition, our subjects never got stuck on the inferior platform–even when it enjoyed a substantial first-mover advantage. The remainder of the paper describes in detail the experiments and the results.

This is another theory which probably should be laid to rest.  I do think it can explain being stuck in an inefficient language (switching is then truly difficult), but traditional economic examples are hard to come by.


Comments for this post are closed