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Platform Competition under Asymmetric Information

In the context of platform competition in a two-sided market, we study how ex-ante uncertainty and ex-post asymmetric information concerning the value of a new technology affects the strategies of the platforms and the market outcome. We find that the incumbent dominates the market by setting the welfare-maximizing quantity when the difference in the degree of asymmetric information between buyers and sellers is significant. However, if this difference is below a certain threshold, then even the incumbent platform will distort its quantity downward. Since a monopoly incumbent would set the welfare-maximizing quantity, this result indicates that platform competition may lead to a market failure: Competition results in a lower quantity and lower welfare than a monopoly. We consider two applications of the model. First, we consider multi-homing. We find that multi-homing solves the market failure resulting from asymmetric information. However, if platforms can impose exclusive dealing, then they will do so, which result in market inefficiency. Second, the model provides a new argument for why it is usually entrants, not incumbents, that bring major technological innovations to the market.

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File URL: http://www.netinst.org/halaburda_yehezkel_11-05.pdf
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Paper provided by NET Institute in its series Working Papers with number 11-05.

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Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision: Sep 2011
Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1105
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.NETinst.org/

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  1. Ramon Casadesus-Masanell & Francisco Ruiz-Aliseda, 2008. "Platform Competition, Compatibility, and Social Efficiency," Working Papers 08-32, NET Institute.
  2. Ettore Damiano & Li Hao, 2008. "Competing Matchmaking," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(4), pages 789-818, 06.
  3. Bruno Jullien, 2011. "Competition in Multi-sided Markets: Divide and Conquer," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 186-220, November.
  4. Attila Ambrus & Rossella Argenziano, 2009. "Asymmetric Networks in Two-Sided Markets," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 17-52, February.
  5. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
  6. Andrei Hagiu & Robin S. Lee, 2011. "Exclusivity and Control," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 679-708, 09.
  7. Gilbert, Richard J & Newbery, David M G, 1982. "Preemptive Patenting and the Persistence of Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 514-26, June.
  8. Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, Bruno, 2001. "Competing cybermediaries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 797-808, May.
  9. repec:hrv:faseco:4589709 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. E. Glen Weyl, 2010. "A Price Theory of Multi-sided Platforms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1642-72, September.
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