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Experimentation in Two-Sided Markets

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  • Peitz, Martin
  • Rady, Sven
  • Trepper, Piers

Abstract

We study optimal experimentation by a monopolistic platform in a two-sided mar- ket. The platform provider faces uncertainty about the strength of the externality each side is exerting on the other. It maximizes the expected present value of its profit stream in a continuous-time infinite-horizon framework by setting participation fees or quantities on both sides. We show that a price-setting platform provider sets a fee lower than the myopically optimal level on at least one side of the market, and on both sides if the two sides are approximately symmetric. If the externality that one side exerts is sufficiently well known and weaker than the externality it experiences, the optimal fee on this side exceeds the myopically optimal level. We obtain analogous results for expected prices when the platform provider chooses quantities. While the optimal pol- icy does not admit closed-form representations in general, we identify special cases in which the undiscounted limit of the model can be solved in closed form.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Mannheim, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 13-03.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:mnh:wpaper:32932

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Keywords: Two-Sided Market ; Network Effects ; Monopoly Experimentation ; Bayesian Learning ; Optimal Control;

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  1. Volker Nocke & Martin Peitz & Konrad Stahl, 2007. "Platform Ownership," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(6), pages 1130-1160, December.
  2. Marc Rysman, 2009. "The Economics of Two-Sided Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 125-43, Summer.
  3. Belleflamme,Paul & Peitz,Martin, 2010. "Industrial Organization," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521681599, October.
  4. Keller, R Godfrey & Rady, Sven, 2001. "Price Dispersion and Learning in a Dynamic Differentiated-Goods Duopoly," CEPR Discussion Papers 2919, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Mirman, L.J. & Samuelson, L. & Schlee, E.E., 1991. "Strategic information manipulation in duopolies," Discussion Paper 1991-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  6. Rochet, Jean-Charles & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," IDEI Working Papers 152, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  7. Godfrey Keller & Sven Rady, 1998. "Optimal Experimentation in a Changing Environment," Game Theory and Information 9801001, EconWPA.
  8. Prescott, Edward C, 1972. "The Multi-Period Control Problem Under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(6), pages 1043-58, November.
  9. Kaiser, Ulrich & Wright, Julian, 2004. "Price Structure in Two-sided Markets: Evidence from the Magazine Industry?," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-80, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  10. Rothschild, Michael, 1974. "A two-armed bandit theory of market pricing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 185-202, October.
  11. 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.
  12. Harrington Jr. , Joseph E., 1995. "Experimentation and Learning in a Differentiated-Products Duopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 275-288, June.
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