QWERTY Is Dead, Long Live Path Dependence

Research Policy, 2013

4 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2013 Last revised: 12 Nov 2013

See all articles by Jean-Philippe Vergne

Jean-Philippe Vergne

University College London - School of Management

Date Written: 2013


Whether path dependence 'exists' or not remains an unresolved question - but it is also a misformulated one. The paper demonstrates that the key issue is methodological, not ontological, and that management and organization scholars have been using inadequate research designs in the past to capture path dependence. The paper draws on recent research to explain why the QWERTY case does not provide evidence for path dependence, and provides clear methodological guidelines regarding which methods should be used in the future to fruitfully explore path dependence in the social sciences. Overall, the paper offers an alternative to both the 'sceptics' who claim that path dependence is a myth and the 'believers' who highlight the huge implications of path dependence, but fail to provide convincing evidence that it actually exists as a distinctive process leading to lock-in.

Keywords: path dependence, path dependency, QWERTY, increasing returns, lock-in

JEL Classification: O3, L5, B25, B41, C33, C62, D5

Suggested Citation

Vergne, Jean-Philippe, QWERTY Is Dead, Long Live Path Dependence (2013). Research Policy, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2254964

Jean-Philippe Vergne (Contact Author)

University College London - School of Management ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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