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Competition, bargaining power and pricing in two-sided markets

  • Wilko Bolt
  • Kimmo Soram�ki

We develop a model of two-sided markets that illustrates the role of bargaining power between the two sides of the market. We are interested in the profit maximizing usage fees set by identical duopolistic platforms which engage in homogeneous, Bertrand-type competition. We find that for a sufficiently low marginal cost duopolistic two-sided competition reduces to a �grab-the-dollar� game with two asymmetric (pure) Nash equilibria. These equilibria are characterized by highly skewed prices, in which the side with all the bargaining power pays a minimum price. The other side of the market is used for cross-subsidization and is charged a high price. Compared to the monopoly outcome, competition lowers the total price charged to both sides, although the seller's equilibrium price may exceed the monopoly price. Both platforms enjoy excess profits.Key Words: platform competition, bargaining power, asymmetric equilibria, skewed pricing

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File URL: http://www.dnb.nl/binaries/WP%20181-2008%20-%20Competition,%20bargaining%20power%20and%20pricing%20in%20two-sided%20markets_tcm46-188337.pdf
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Paper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department in its series DNB Working Papers with number 181.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:181
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Web page: http://www.dnb.nl/en/

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  1. Stuart E. Weiner & Julian Wright, 2005. "Interchange fees in various countries: developments and determinants," Payments System Research Working Paper PSR WP 05-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  2. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Triole, 2002. "Platform Competition in Two Sided Markets," FMG Discussion Papers dp409, Financial Markets Group.
  3. Benjamin E. Hermalin & Michael L. Katz, 2006. "Your network or mine? The economics of routing rules," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(3), pages 692-719, 09.
  4. Nicolas, VIEILLE & Rida, LARAKI & Eilon, SOLAN, 2003. "Continuous-Time Games of Timing," Les Cahiers de Recherche 773, HEC Paris.
  5. Bolt, Wilko & Tieman, Alexander F., 2008. "Heavily skewed pricing in two-sided markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 1250-1255, September.
  6. Mark Armstrong & Julian Wright, 2007. "Two-sided Markets, Competitive Bottlenecks and Exclusive Contracts," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 353-380, August.
  7. Graeme Guthrie & Julian Wright, 2003. "Competing Payment Schemes," Departmental Working Papers wp0311, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics.
  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. Schwartz Marius & Vincent Daniel R., 2006. "The No Surcharge Rule and Card User Rebates: Vertical Control by a Payment Network," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, March.
  10. 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.
  11. Schmalensee, Richard, 2002. "Payment Systems and Interchange Fees," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 103-22, June.
  12. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:645-667 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. 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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