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Adoption and Use of Electronic Markets: Individual and Collective Learning

Eric Darmon () and Dominique Torre ()

Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 2004, vol. 7, issue 2, 2

Abstract: We investigate in this paper the problem of the dynamics of adoption of electronic commerce, focusing on agents’ expertise and learning patterns in using e-markets. Traders face a double uncertainty. In the traditional channel, intrinsic frictions make uncertain the implementation of an exchange, but the quality of the traded items is perfectly observable. In the electronic channel, exchange always occurs but agents imperfectly appreciate items' quality, because traders and traded commodities are inaccurately observable on e-markets. We develop in this paper a simulation model to deal with this issue. In this model, traders are heterogeneous regarding both their preferences and their ability to trade on the electronic market. We successively sketch two scenarii: i) We first analyse a situation where learning is strictly individual. A trial-and-errors learning pattern may have an ambiguous impact. On the one hand, it is found to improve the diffusion of electronic markets. On the other hand, it may be responsible of a new source of inequalities because some agents may not be able to trade in the electronic channel and are hence excluded from the use of this market either in the short run (temporal unemployment) or in the long run (structural unemployment). As learning is imperfect, the economy converges to a situation where the two markets coexist, inducing coordination costs (frictional unemployment). ii) We then extend our results by exploring the effects of community-based learning practices: such practices are found to enhance the adoption of the electronic channel although inequalities among agents may increase.

Keywords: Electronic market; e-commerce; Internet; virtual community; search market; learning (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2004-03-31
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