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Platform competition and incumbency advantage under heterogeneous switching cost — exploring the impact of data portability

Author

Listed:
  • Siciliani, Paolo

    (Bank of England and UCL Laws)

  • Giovannetti, Emanuele

    (Anglia Ruskin University & Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge)

Abstract

The paper develops a static model to explore how, under platform competition, heterogeneous levels of switching costs can give rise to an incumbency advantage. The key condition required for the coexistence of both platforms on the market, to have effective competition, relies on the relative strength of switching costs over the network effects. Only when switching costs are stronger than cross-group network benefits is market tipping avoided. The same condition also underpins the presence of a material incumbency advantage vis-à-vis the entrant platform. Therefore, regulatory intervention aimed at facilitating switching, for example by imposing data portability, might worsen entry condition as the incumbent platform is less accommodative. Besides the standard configuration with exogenous singlehoming, we also fully characterise the model with endogenous multihoming on both sides. Partial multihoming occurs only on one side, the one with comparatively lower switching costs. However, in contrast to the seminal ‘competition bottleneck’ model, on the opposite side, where singlehoming arises endogenously, agents face higher prices than under exogenous singlehoming. Therefore, the incumbent platform would normally opt for this regime, whereas we show that the entrant is basically indifferent between the two.

Suggested Citation

  • Siciliani, Paolo & Giovannetti, Emanuele, 2019. "Platform competition and incumbency advantage under heterogeneous switching cost — exploring the impact of data portability," Bank of England working papers 839, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:0839
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wang, Juite & Lai, Jung-Yu, 2020. "Exploring innovation diffusion of two-sided mobile payment platforms: A system dynamics approach," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 157(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    two-sided markets; platform competition; switching costs; multihoming;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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