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Price Discrimination in Two-Sided Markets

We examine the profitability and the welfare implications of price discrimination in two-sided markets. Platforms have information about the preferences of the agents that allows them to price discriminate within each group. The conventional wisdom from one-sided horizontally differentiated markets is that price discrimination hurts the firms and benefits consumers, prisoners' dilemma. Moreover, it is well-known that the presence of indirect externalities in two-sided markets can intensify the competition. Despite all these, we show that the possibility of price discrimination, in a two-sided market, may actually soften the competition. Therefore, the implications of price discrimination from one-sided markets may not carry over to two-sided markets. This is the case regardless of whether prices are public or private, although private prices boost profits. Our analysis also sheds light on the welfare properties of price discrimination in intermediate goods markets, such as Business-to-Business (B2B) markets.

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File URL: http://www.netinst.org/Liu-Serfes_07-25.pdf
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Paper provided by NET Institute in its series Working Papers with number 07-25.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision: Sep 2007
Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:0725
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.NETinst.org/

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  1. Yongmin Chen, 1997. "Paying Customers to Switch," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 877-897, December.
  2. David Sibley & Ken Heyer, 2003. "Selected Economic Analysis at the Antitrust Division: The Year in Review," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 95-119, September.
  3. Bester, H. & Petrakis, E., 1994. "Coupons and Oligopolistic Price Discrimination," Discussion Paper 1994-12, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:645-667 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Simon P. Anderson & Stephen Coate, 2005. "Market Provision of Broadcasting: A Welfare Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 947-972.
  6. Konstantinos Serfes & Hyunho Kim, 2004. "A Location Model with Preference for Variety," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 127, Econometric Society.
  7. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 2000. "Customer Poaching and Brand Switching," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 634-657, Winter.
  8. Ilya Segal & Michael D. Whinston, 2003. "Robust Predictions for Bilateral Contracting with Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(3), pages 757-791, 05.
  9. Kenneth S. Corts, 1998. "Third-Degree Price Discrimination in Oligopoly: All-Out Competition and Strategic Commitment," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(2), pages 306-323, Summer.
  10. McAfee, R Preston & Schwartz, Marius, 1994. "Opportunism in Multilateral Vertical Contracting: Nondiscrimination, Exclusivity, and Uniformity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 210-30, March.
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