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The Antitrust Analysis of Multi-Sided Platform Businesses

73 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2013  

David S. Evans

Global Economics Group; University College London

Richard Schmalensee

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

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Date Written: February 2013

Abstract

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.

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2214252

David S. Evans (Contact Author)

Global Economics Group ( email )

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University College London ( email )

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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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