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Platform competition and seller investment incentives

  • 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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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number 2339.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:2339
Note: In : European Economic Review, 54(8), 1059-1076, 2010
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  1. 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.
  2. Volker Nocke & Martin Peitz & Konrad Stahl, 2004. "Platform Ownership," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-029, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. Kaiser, Ulrich & Wright, Julian, 2006. "Price structure in two-sided markets: Evidence from the magazine industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 1-28, January.
  4. David Evans & Richard Schmalensee, 2007. "The Industrial Organization of Markets with Two-Sided Platforms," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 3.
  5. John Rust & George Hall, 2003. "Middlemen versus Market Makers: A Theory of Competitive Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(2), pages 353-403, April.
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  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Gehrig, Thomas, 1998. "Competing markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 277-310, February.
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  12. Mark Armstrong & Julian Wright, 2007. "Two-sided Markets, Competitive Bottlenecks and Exclusive Contracts," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 32(2), pages 353-380, August.
  13. 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.
  14. Hagiu Andrei, 2007. "Merchant or Two-Sided Platform?," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-19, June.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
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