Making the Most of Platforms: A Policy Research Agenda

28 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2016

See all articles by Diane Coyle

Diane Coyle

Bennett Institute for Public Policy

Date Written: October 17, 2016


Digital platforms are proliferating in many countries and many sectors of the economy. Platforms create immense value, for their customers and also for their suppliers. Yet all too often they are seen only through the lens of the ‘disruption’ of incumbents, resulting in a narrow debate about whether platforms should be more heavily regulated. Yet the right questions are: what policy framework will ensure the immense benefits are encouraged and widely shared; what will help create new platforms, and sustain healthy competition and innovation; and how can unwelcome aspects of platform behaviour be avoided? This paper gives a broad overview of theory and evidence to date on digital platforms and aims to set out the issues that remain to be addressed by researchers, policymakers, and the platform businesses themselves. The distinctive economic characteristics of platforms, their global scope and their rapid evolution make for a rapidly-changing landscape in which traditional policy tools and business strategies do not apply, and there are many questions to be answered.

Keywords: Platforms, sharing economy, competition, regulation

JEL Classification: L10, L40, L50

Suggested Citation

Coyle, Diane, Making the Most of Platforms: A Policy Research Agenda (October 17, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Diane Coyle (Contact Author)

Bennett Institute for Public Policy ( email )

Alison Richard Building
7 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DT
Great Britain

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