Strategic Positioning in Information Product Space

SPIPS is currently being conducted by:

Collaborators: IBM’s Information economies research group.

Networked information technology, in particular the Internet, has created new opportunities for the exchange of digital information goods in an environment where the consumer population is changing and firms face a great deal of uncertainty. In this case, firms must decide how much they should learn about the consumer population, given that this learning is costly.

More broadly, we are interested in how agents in such an economy can form or locate niche markets, rather than competing for the mass market, and in identifying the conditions needed for niches to appeal to producers. In general, niches appear to be associated with a firm’s desire to learn about a consumer population (as opposed to exploiting current knowledge) and its willingness to forego some current profit in the hope of extracting larger profits in the future.

This involves both analytical work, in which we determine whether rational producers should choose to learn and identify the conditions needed for niches to be attractive to producers, and computational work, in which we characterize the behavior of adaptive producers within a parameterized model and study how changed in this model affect learnability and the desire to explore rather than exploit.


Links to code for performing experiments and analysis will be added here.

To come:

  • Amoeba implementation in C++ and Lisp.
  • Matlab code for analyzing niche differentiation and best-response learning.
  • Lisp code for GA search in category space.


  • Leigh Tesfatsion’s page on Agent-based Computational Economics.

Other links


Executive summary of NSF Proposal. The document summarizing the research we are currently working on.

Past work:

These are publications not funded by SPIPS, but which are both relevant to our research and useful for understanding our research trajectory.

Currently published work:

Working papers:

  • Brooks, Gazzale, Durfee, MacKie-Mason. A map of our current work on SPIPS.