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Platform Rules: Multi-Sided Platforms as Regulators

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Author Info

  • Kevin J. Boudreau

    ()
    (HEC – Paris School of Management)

  • Andrei Hagiu

    ()
    (Harvard Business School, Strategy Unit)

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    Abstract

    This paper provides a basic conceptual framework for interpreting non-price instruments used by multi-sided platforms (MSPs) by analogizing MSPs as "private regulators" who regulate access to and interactions around the platform. We present evidence on Facebook, TopCoder, Roppongi Hills and Harvard Business School to document the "regulatory" role played by MSPs. We find MSPs use nuanced combinations of legal, technological, informational and other instruments (including price-setting) to implement desired outcomes. Non-price instruments were very much at the core of MSP strategies.

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    File URL: http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/09-061.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Harvard Business School in its series Harvard Business School Working Papers with number 09-061.

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    Length: 30 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:09-061

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    Phone: 617.495.6000
    Web page: http://www.hbs.edu/
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    Related research

    Keywords: Platforms; regulation; network effects; distributed innovation;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

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    1. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, January.
    2. Catherine Tucker, 2008. "Identifying Formal and Informal Influence in Technology Adoption with Network Externalities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(12), pages 2024-2038, December.
    3. Church Jeffrey & Gandal Neil & Krause David, 2008. "Indirect Network Effects and Adoption Externalities," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(3), pages 1-22, September.
    4. Farrell, Joseph & Weiser, Philip J., 2003. "Modularity, Vertical Integration, and Open Access Policies: Towards a Convergence of Antitrust and Regulation in the Internet Age," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4dh7q2dd, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    5. Joseph Farrell & Michael L. Katz, 2003. "Innovation, Rent Extraction, and Integration in Systems Markets," Development and Comp Systems 0303005, EconWPA.
    6. David S. Evans & Andrei Hagiu & Richard Schmalensee, 2006. "Invisible Engines: How Software Platforms Drive Innovation and Transform Industries," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262050854, January.
    7. Michael L. Katz & Carl Shapiro, 1994. "Systems Competition and Network Effects," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 93-115, Spring.
    8. Mark Armstrong & Julian Wright, 2007. "Two-sided Markets, Competitive Bottlenecks and Exclusive Contracts," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 353-380, August.
    9. Jacobides, Michael G. & Knudsen, Thorbjorn & Augier, Mie, 2006. "Benefiting from innovation: Value creation, value appropriation and the role of industry architectures," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1200-1221, October.
    10. Chou, Chien-fu & Shy, Oz, 1990. "Network effects without network externalities," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 259-270, June.
    11. Nair, Harikesh S. & Chintagunta, Pradeep & Dube, Jean-Pierre, 2003. "Empirical Analysis of Indirect Network Effects in the Market for Personal Digital Assistants," Research Papers 1948, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    12. Armstrong, Mark & Sappington, David E.M., 2007. "Recent Developments in the Theory of Regulation," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
    13. Annabelle Gawer & Rebecca Henderson, 2005. "Platform Owner Entry and Innovation in Complementary Markets: Evidence from Intel," NBER Working Papers 11852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Farrell, Joseph & Klemperer, Paul, 2006. "Coordination and Lock-In: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt9n26k7v1, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    15. Kevin M. Murphy & Steven J. Davis, 2000. "A Competitive Perspective on Internet Explorer," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 184-187, May.
    16. Geoffrey G. Parker & Marshall W. Van Alstyne, 2005. "Two-Sided Network Effects: A Theory of Information Product Design," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(10), pages 1494-1504, October.
    17. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Some Simple Economics of Open," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 197-234, June.
    18. Marc Rysman, 2004. "Competition Between Networks: A�Study of the Market for Yellow�Pages," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 483-512, 04.
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    Cited by:
    1. Muge Ozman, 2008. "The Two Faces of Open Innovation: NetworkExternalities and Learning," Working Papers of BETA 2008-24, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.

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