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The Strategic Use of Download Limits by a Monopoly Platform

Author

Listed:
  • Nicholas Economides

    () (Stern School of Business, NYU and Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley)

  • Benjamin Hermalin

    () (Haas School of Business and Economics Department, UC Berkeley)

Abstract

We consider a heretofore unexplored explanation for why platforms, such as Internet service providers, might impose download limits on content consumers: doing so increases the degree to which those consumers view content providers’ products as substitutes. This, in turn, intensifies the competition among providers, generating greater surplus for consumers. A platform, in turn, can capture this increased surplus by charging consumers higher access fees. Even accounting for congestion externalities, we show that a platform will tend to set the download limit at a lower level than would be welfare-maximizing; indeed, in some instances, so low that no download limit is welfare superior to the limit the platform would set. Somewhat paradoxically, we show that a platform will install more bandwidth when allowed to impose a download limit than when prevented from doing so. Other related phenomena are explored.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas Economides & Benjamin Hermalin, 2013. "The Strategic Use of Download Limits by a Monopoly Platform," Working Papers 13-26, NET Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1326
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    File URL: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/networks/Economides_Hermalin_Congested_Platform.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Calzada, Joan & Martínez-Santos, Fernando, 2014. "Broadband prices in the European Union: Competition and commercial strategies," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 24-38.
    2. Shane Greenstein & Martin Peitz & Tommaso Valletti, 2016. "Net Neutrality: A Fast Lane to Understanding the Trade-Offs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 127-150, Spring.
    3. José Marino García García & Aurelia Valiño Castro & A. Jesús Sánchez Fuentes, 2016. "Price discrimination of ott providers under duopolistic competition and multi-dimmesional product differentiation in retail broadband access," Working Papers. Collection A: Public economics, governance and decentralization 1607, Universidade de Vigo, GEN - Governance and Economics research Network.
    4. Jean-Pascal Bassino & Aurélien Faravelon & Stéphane Grumbach, 2015. "Cross-Border Data Exchanges : The Rise of Platform Economy in Asia," Post-Print hal-01245080, HAL.
    5. Benjamin E. Hermalin, 2016. "Platform-Intermediated Trade with Uncertain Quality," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 172(1), pages 5-29, March.
    6. Joan Calzada & Fernando Martínez-Santos, 2016. "Pricing strategies and competition in the mobile broadband market," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 70-98, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    two-sided markets; Internet; download limits (caps); congested platforms; network neutrality; price discrimination;

    JEL classification:

    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection

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