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The Antitrust Analysis of Multi-Sided Platform Businesses

David S. Evans

Global Economics Group; University of Chicago Law School; University College London

Richard Schmalensee

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

February 2013

NBER Working Paper No. w18783

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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 73

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Date posted: February 9, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Evans, David S. and Schmalensee, Richard, The Antitrust Analysis of Multi-Sided Platform Businesses (February 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w18783. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2214252

Contact Information

David S. Evans (Contact Author)
Global Economics Group ( email )
111 Devonshire St.
Suite 900
Boston, MA 02108
United States
University of Chicago Law School ( email )
1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
University College London ( email )
Gower St
London WC1E OEG, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom
Richard Schmalensee
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )
Room E62-525
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-2957 (Phone)
617-258-6617 (Fax)
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References:  327
Citations:  3
Footnotes:  59

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