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The Antitrust Analysis of Multi-Sided Platform Businesses

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  • David S. Evans
  • Richard Schmalensee

Abstract

This Chapter provides a survey of the economics literature on multi-sided platforms with particular focus on competition policy issues, including market definition, mergers, monopolization, and coordinated behavior. It provides a survey of the general industrial organization theory of multi-sided platforms and then considers various issues concerning the application of antitrust analysis to multi-sided platform businesses. It shows that it is not possible to know whether standard economic models, often relied on for antitrust analysis, apply to multi-sided platforms without explicitly considering the existence of multiple customer groups with interdependent demand. It summarizes many theoretical and empirical papers that demonstrate that a number of results for single-sided firms, which are the focus of much of the applied antitrust economics literature, do not apply directly to multi-sided platforms.

Suggested Citation

  • David S. Evans & Richard Schmalensee, 2013. "The Antitrust Analysis of Multi-Sided Platform Businesses," NBER Working Papers 18783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18783
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    Cited by:

    1. Lefouili, Yassine & Pinho, Joana, 2020. "Collusion between two-sided platforms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    2. Howell, Bronwyn E & Potgieter, Petrus H., 2017. "Competition and vertical/agglomeration effects in media mergers: bagging bundle benefits," 14th ITS Asia-Pacific Regional Conference, Kyoto 2017: Mapping ICT into Transformation for the Next Information Society 168487, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    3. Cosnita-Langlais, Andreea & Johansen, Bjørn Olav & Sørgard, Lars, 2021. "Upward pricing pressure in two-sided markets: Incorporating rebalancing effects," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    4. Joao Correia‐da‐Silva & Bruno Jullien & Yassine Lefouili & Joana Pinho, 2019. "Horizontal mergers between multisided platforms: Insights from Cournot competition," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 109-124, January.
    5. Vogelsang Ingo, 2013. "The Endgame of Telecommunications Policy? A Survey," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 64(3), pages 193-270, December.
    6. Michael Böheim & Werner Hölzl & Agnes Kügler, 2018. "Wettbewerbs- und regulierungspolitische Herausforderungen der Digitalisierung. Auf dem Weg zu einer "Sozialen Marktwirtschaft 4.0"," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 91(12), pages 871-880, December.
    7. Marleen Marra, 2019. "Pricing and Fees in Auction Platforms with Two-Sided Entry," Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers 2020-02, Sciences Po Departement of Economics.
    8. Lefouili, Yassine & Pinho, Joana, 2020. "Collusion between two-sided platforms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    9. Verfaillie, Bryan & Van der Wee, Marlies & Verbrugge, Sofie, 2021. "Comparative analysis of existing multi-sided digital platform initiatives," 23rd ITS Biennial Conference, Online Conference / Gothenburg 2021. Digital societies and industrial transformations: Policies, markets, and technologies in a post-Covid world 238059, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    10. Robin Mansell, 2015. "Platforms of power," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 61318, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Howell, Bronwyn E. & Potgieter, Petrus H., 2019. "Bagging bundle benefits in broadband and media mergers: Lessons from Sky/Vodafone for antitrust analysis," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 128-139.
    12. de Reuver, Mark & Sørensen, Carsten & Basole, Rahul C., 2018. "The digital platform: a research agenda," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 80669, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    13. Julia Bock-Schappelwein & Michael Böheim & Elisabeth Christen & Stefan Ederer & Matthias Firgo & Klaus S. Friesenbichler & Werner Hölzl & Mathias Kirchner & Angela Köppl & Agnes Kügler & Christine May, 2018. "Politischer Handlungsspielraum zur optimalen Nutzung der Vorteile der Digitalisierung für Wirtschaftswachstum, Beschäftigung und Wohlstand," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 61256, June.
    14. Eric Darmon & Thomas Le Texier & Zhiwen Li & Thierry Pénard, 2019. "Multimarket Contact and Platform Competition: Reassessing the Mutual Forbearance Hypothesis," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 2019-07, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    15. Lei Huang & Yandong Zhao & Liang Mei & Peiyi Wu & Zhihua Zhao & Yijun Mao, 2019. "Structural Holes in the Multi-Sided Market: A Market Allocation Structure Analysis of China’s Car-Hailing Platform in the Context of Open Innovation," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(20), pages 1-20, October.
    16. Yassine Lefouili & Joana Pinho, 2017. "Collusion in Two-Sided Markets," Working Papers 17-05, NET Institute.
    17. Lee, Changjun & Hwang, Junseok, 2018. "The influence of giant platform on content diversity," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 157-165.
    18. Marleen Marra, 2019. "Pricing and Fees in Auction Platforms with Two-Sided Entry," Working Papers hal-03393068, HAL.
    19. Marleen Marra, 2019. "Pricing and Fees in Auction Platforms with Two-Sided Entry," Sciences Po publications 2020-02, Sciences Po.
    20. Baranes, Edmond & Cortade, Thomas & Cosnita-Langlais, Andreea, 2019. "Horizontal mergers on platform markets: cost savings v. cross-group network effects?," MPRA Paper 97459, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L19 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Other
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General

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