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The Antitrust Economics of Two-sided Markets

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  • Evans, David S.

Abstract

"Two-sided" markets have two different groups of customers that businesses have to get on board to succeed'there is a "chicken-and-egg" problem that needs to be solved. These industries range from dating clubs (men and women), to video game consoles (game developers and users), to credit cards (cardholders and merchants), and to operating system software (application developers and users). They include some of the most important industries in the economy. Two-sided firms behave in ways that seem surprising from the vantage point of traditional industries, but in ways that seem like plain common sense once one understands the business problems they must solve. Prices do not and prices cannot follow marginal costs in each side of the market. Price levels, price structures, and investment strategies must optimize output by harvesting the indirect network effects available on both sides. By doing so, businesses in two-sided industries get both sides on board and solve the chicken-and-egg problem. There is no basis for asking regulators or antitrust enforcers to steer clear of these industries or to spend extra effort on them. The antitrust analysis of these industries, however should heed the economic principles that govern pricing and investment decisions in these industries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Regulation2point0 in its series Working paper with number 253.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Handle: RePEc:reg:wpaper:253

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Cited by:
  1. Doganoglu, Toker & Wright, Julian, 2006. "Multihoming and compatibility," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 45-67, January.
  2. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 990-1029, 06.
  3. Hayashi Fumiko, 2006. "A Puzzle of Card Payment Pricing: Why Are Merchants Still Accepting Card Payments?," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, March.
  4. Beschorner, Patrick Frank Ernst, 2008. "Do Consumers Benefit from Concentration in the New Economy? A Review of Google's Mergers, Acquisitions, and Arrangements," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-121, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  5. Rattanasuda Poolsombat & Gianluigi Vernasca, 2006. "Partial Multihoming in Two-sided Markets," Discussion Papers 06/10, Department of Economics, University of York.
  6. Fumiko Hayashi & Elizabeth Klee, 2002. "Technology adoption and consumer payments : evidence from survey data," Payments System Research Working Paper PSR WP 02-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

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