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A Price Theory of Multi-sided Platforms

  • E. Glen Weyl

I develop a general theory of monopoly pricing of networks. Platforms use insulating tariffs to avoid coordination failure, implementing any desired allocation. Profit maximization distorts in the spirit of A. Michael Spence (1975) by internalizing only network externalities to marginal users. Thus the empirical and prescriptive content of the popular Jean-Charles Rochet and Jean Tirole (2006) model of two-sided markets turns on the nature of user heterogeneity. I propose a more plausible, yet equally tractable, model of heterogeneity in which users differ in their income or scale. My approach provides a general measure of market power and helps predict the effect of price regulation and mergers. (JEL D42, D85, L14)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.100.4.1642
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 100 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 1642-72

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:4:p:1642-72
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.100.4.1642
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  1. Robin S. Lee, 2013. "Vertical Integration and Exclusivity in Platform and Two-Sided Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 2960-3000, December.
  2. Elena Argentesi & Lapo Filistrucchi, 2005. "Estimating market power in a two-sided market: the case of newspapers," Economics Working Papers ECO2005/07, European University Institute.
  3. Klemperer, Paul D & Meyer, Margaret A, 1989. "Supply Function Equilibria in Oligopoly under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1243-77, November.
  4. Jay Pil Choi & Byung-Cheol Kim, 2008. "Net Neutrality and Investment Incentives," CESifo Working Paper Series 2390, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Marc Rysman, 2004. "Competition Between Networks: A Study of the Market for Yellow Pages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 483-512.
  6. Fudenberg, Drew & Ellison, Glenn, 2003. "Knife-Edge or Plateau: When Do Market Models Tip?," Scholarly Articles 3160493, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Farrell Joseph & Shapiro Carl, 2010. "Antitrust Evaluation of Horizontal Mergers: An Economic Alternative to Market Definition," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-41, March.
  8. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "What Drives Media Slant? Evidence from U.S. Daily Newspapers," NBER Working Papers 12707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Julian Wright, 2004. "The Determinants of Optimal Interchange Fees in Payment Systems," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 1-26, 03.
  10. Gaudeul, Alexandre & Jullien, Bruno, 2005. "E-Commerce, Two-Sided Markets and Info-Mediation," IDEI Working Papers 380, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  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. Hagiu Andrei, 2007. "Merchant or Two-Sided Platform?," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-19, June.
  13. Simon P. Anderson & Stephen Coate, 2005. "Market Provision of Broadcasting: A Welfare Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 947-972.
  14. Nevo, Aviv, 1998. "Identification of the oligopoly solution concept in a differentiated-products industry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 391-395, June.
  15. Weyl, E. Glen, 2009. "Monopoly, Ramsey and Lindahl in Rochet and Tirole (2003)," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 99-100, May.
  16. 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, August.
  17. Steven T. Berry & Joel Waldfogel, 1999. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency in Radio Broadcasting," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(3), pages 397-420, Autumn.
  18. O'Keeffe, Mary & Viscusi, W Kip & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1984. "Economic Contests: Comparative Reward Schemes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 27-56, January.
  19. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1993. "A Simple Theory of Advertising as a Good or Bad," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 941-64, November.
  20. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13, January.
  21. 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.
  22. S. J. Liebowitz & Stephen E. Margolis, 1994. "Network Externality: An Uncommon Tragedy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 133-150, Spring.
  23. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:668-691 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:645-667 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 324-340, Autumn.
  26. Ilya Segal, 1999. "Contracting With Externalities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 337-388, May.
  27. Andrei Hagiu, 2009. "Two-Sided Platforms: Product Variety and Pricing Structures," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(4), pages 1011-1043, December.
  28. Church, Jeffrey & Gandal, Neil, 1992. "Network Effects, Software Provision, and Standardization," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 85-103, March.
  29. Bresnahan, Timothy F., 1982. "The oligopoly solution concept is identified," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 10(1-2), pages 87-92.
  30. 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.
  31. Besanko, David & Donnenfeld, Shabtai & White, Lawrence J, 1987. "Monopoly and Quality Distortion: Effects and Remedies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 743-67, November.
  32. Ying Fan, 2013. "Ownership Consolidation and Product Characteristics: A Study of the US Daily Newspaper Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1598-1628, August.
  33. Alexander White & E. Glen Weyl, 2010. "Imperfect Platform Competition: A General Framework," Working Papers 10-17, NET Institute, revised Nov 2010.
  34. Kaiser, Ulrich & Song, Minjae, 2009. "Do media consumers really dislike advertising? An empirical assessment of the role of advertising in print media markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 292-301, March.
  35. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:720-737 is not listed on IDEAS
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