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Competing for Contacts: Network Competition, Trade Intermediation and Fragmented Duopoly

  • Dimitra Petropoulou

A two-sided, pair-wise matching model is developed to analyse the strategic interaction between two information intermediaries who compete in commission rates and network size, giving rise to a fragmented duopoly market structure. The model suggests that network competition between information intermediaries has a distinctive market structure, where intermediaries are monopolist service providers to some contacts but duopolists over contacts they share in their network overlap. The intermediaries` inability to price discriminate between the competitive and non-competitive market segments, gives rise to an undercutting game, which has no pure strategy Nash equilibrium. The incentive to randomise commission rates yields a mixed strategy Nash equilibrium. Finally, competition is affected by the technology of network development. The analysis shows that either a monopoly or a fragmented duopoly can prevail in equilibrium, depending on the network-building technology. Under convexity assumptions, both intermediaries invest in a network and compete over common matches, while randomising commission rates. In contrast, linear network development costs can only give rise to a monopolistic outcome.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper371.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 371.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2007
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:371
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Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
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  1. Michael R. Baye & Casper G. De Vries, 1992. "Mixed Strategy Trade Equilibria," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 25(2), pages 281-93, May.
  2. T. Randolph Beard & George S. Ford & R. Carter Hill, 2005. "Fragmented Duopoly: A Conceptual and Empirical Investigation," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(6), pages 2377-2396, November.
  3. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-40, June.
  4. Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, Bruno, 2001. "Competing cybermediaries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 797-808, May.
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