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Platform competition and seller investment incentives

  • Belleflamme, Paul
  • Peitz, Martin

Many products and services are not sold on open platforms but on competing for-profit platforms, which charge buyers and sellers for access. What is the effect of for-profit intermediation on seller investment incentives? Since for-profit intermediaries reduce the available rents in the market, one might naively suspect that sellers have weaker investment incentives with competing for-profit platforms. However, we show that for-profit intermediation may lead to overinvestment when free access would lead to underinvestment because investment decisions affect the strength of indirect network effects and, thus, access prices. We characterize the effect of for-profit intermediation on investment incentives depending on the nature of the investment and on which side of the market singlehomes.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014-2921(10)00030-9
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 54 (2010)
Issue (Month): 8 (November)
Pages: 1059-1076

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:54:y:2010:i:8:p:1059-1076
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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  1. Gehrig, Thomas, 1998. "Competing markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 277-310, February.
  2. John Rust & George Hall, 2001. "Middle Men Versus Market Makers: A Theory of Competitive Exchange," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1299, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. David Evans & Richard Schmalensee, 2007. "The Industrial Organization of Markets with Two-Sided Platforms," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 3.
  4. Nocke, Volker & Peitz, Martin & Stahl, Konrad, 2004. "Platform Ownership," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 16, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  5. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Triole, 2002. "Platform competition in two sided markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24929, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Yi, Sang-Seung, 1999. "Market structure and incentives to innovate: the case of Cournot oligopoly," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 379-388, December.
  7. Daniel F. Spulber, 2002. "Market Microstructure and Incentives to Invest," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 352-381, April.
  8. Bester, Helmut & Petrakis, Emmanuel, 1993. "The incentives for cost reduction in a differentiated industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 519-534.
  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.
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  11. Hagiu Andrei, 2007. "Merchant or Two-Sided Platform?," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-19, June.
  12. 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.
  13. Gehrig, Thomas, 1993. "Intermediation in Search Markets," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(1), pages 97-120, Spring.
  14. Bonanno, Giacomo & Haworth, Barry, 1998. "Intensity of competition and the choice between product and process innovation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 495-510, July.
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  16. Evans David S., 2003. "Some Empirical Aspects of Multi-sided Platform Industries," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(3), pages 1-19, September.
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