Refereed Conference Papers

An agent-based simulation of lock-in dynamics in a duopoly.
M. Garlick, M. Chli, In Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, 2010.


Lock-in is observed in real world markets of experience goods; experience goods are goods whose characteristics are difficult to determine in advance, but ascertained upon consumption. We create an agent-based simulation of consumers choosing between two experience goods available in a virtual market. We model consumers in a grid representing the spatial network of the consumers. Utilising simple assumptions, including identical distributions of product experience and consumers having a degree of follower tendency, we explore the dynamics of the model through simulations. We conduct simulations to create a lock-in before testing several hypotheses upon how to break an existing lock-in; these include the effect of advertising and free give-away. Our experiments show that the key to successfully breaking a lock-in required the creation of regions in a consumer population. Regions arise due to the degree of local conformity between agents within the regions, which spread throughout the population when a mildly superior competitor was available. These regions may be likened to a niche in a market, which gains in popularity to transition into the mainstream.


I.6.5 [Simulation and Modelling]: Model Development, Modelling methodologies. J.4 [Social and Behavioural Sciences]: Economics, Sociology. Experimentation, Human Factors, Economics Agent-based Simulation, Consumer Behaviour, Lock-in.