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Chicken and Egg: Competing Matchmakers

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  • Caillaud, Bernard
  • Jullien, Bruno

Abstract

We examine a Bertrand competition game between two intermediaries offering matching services between two sides of a market. Indirect network externalities arise as the probability of finding one's match with a given intermediary increase with the number of agents of the other side who use the services of this intermediary. We formalise some specificities of intermediation on the Internet by allowing registration and transaction prices, and multiple registration. When only registration fees are used and agents register to at most one cybermediary, there exists an equilibrium where one firm corners the market with positive profits, as well as zero profit equilibria where the firms share the market. Introducing either fees that are contingent on successful matching or the possibility of registration with two intermediaries drastically reduces the profits of a dominant firm. Moreover, with multiple registration, new types of positive-profit equilibria emerge where both matchmakers are active and one side of the market registers with both cybermediaries.

Suggested Citation

  • Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, Bruno, 2001. "Chicken and Egg: Competing Matchmakers," CEPR Discussion Papers 2885, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2885
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Innes, Robert & Sexton, Richard J., 1993. "Customer coalitions, monopoly price discrimination and generic entry deterrence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1569-1597, December.
    2. Douglas W. Diamond, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414.
    3. Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, Bruno, 2001. "Competing cybermediaries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 797-808, May.
    4. Yanelle, Marie-Odile, 1989. "The strategic analysis of intermediation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(2-3), pages 294-301, March.
    5. Michael L. Katz & Carl Shapiro, 1994. "Systems Competition and Network Effects," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 93-115, Spring.
    6. Jullien, Bruno, 2001. "Competing with Network Externalities and Price Discrimination," CEPR Discussion Papers 2883, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-440, June.
    8. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2001. "Information Gatekeepers on the Internet and the Competitiveness of Homogeneous Product Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 454-474, June.
    9. Arthur J. Hosios, 1990. "On The Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 279-298.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
    2. Chakravorti Sujit & Roson Roberto, 2006. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets: The Case of Payment Networks," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-25, March.
    3. Nahm, Jae, 2003. "The gatekeeper's optimal fee structure when sellers can price discriminate," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 9-14, July.
    4. 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.
    5. Jullien, Bruno, 2001. "Competing with Network Externalities and Price Discrimination," CEPR Discussion Papers 2883, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    competition; intermediation; internet; matching; network externalities;

    JEL classification:

    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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