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The Economics of Product-Line Restrictions With an Application to the Network Neutrality Debate

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  • Hermalin, Benjamin E.
  • Katz, Michael

Abstract

We examine the welfare effects of product-line restrictions, such as those called for by some proponents of network neutrality regulation. We consider a platform that brings together households and application providers. We find that restricting a monopoly platform to a single product has the following effects: (a) application providers that would otherwise have purchased a low-quality variant are excluded from the market; (b) applications 'in the middle' of the market utilize a higher and more efficient quality; and (c) applications at the top utilize a lower and less efficient quality than otherwise. Total surplus may rise or fall, although the analysis suggests to us that harm to welfare is likely. We also examine a duopoly model and find that the welfare effects are similar.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Regulation2point0 in its series Working paper with number 541.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:reg:wpaper:541

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  1. 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.
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  12. A. Michael Spence, 1975. "Monopoly, Quality, and Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(2), pages 417-429, Autumn.
  13. GABSZEWICZ, Jean J. & LAUSSEL, Didier & SONNAC, Nathalie, . "Press advertising and the political differentiation of newspapers," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1561, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  14. Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, Bruno, 2003. " Chicken & Egg: Competition among Intermediation Service Providers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 309-28, Summer.
  15. De Fraja, Giovanni, 1996. "Product line competition in vertically differentiated markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 389-414, May.
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