Collusion in Two-Sided Markets
49 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2017
Date Written: September 30, 2017
This paper explores the incentives for, and the effects of, collusion in prices between two-sided platforms. We characterize the most profitable sustainable agreement when platforms collude on both sides of the market and when they collude on a single side of the market. Under two-sided collusion, prices on both sides are higher than competitive prices, implying that agents on both sides become worse off as compared to the competitive outcome. An increase in cross-group externalities makes two-sided collusion at a given profit level harder to sustain, and reduces the harm from collusion suffered by the agents on a given side as long as the collusive price on that side is lower than the monopoly price. When platforms collude on a single side of the market, the price on the collusive side is lower (higher) than the competitive price if the magnitude of the cross-group externalities exerted on that side is sufficiently large (small). As a result, one-sided collusion may benefit the agents on the collusive side and harm the agents on the competitive side.
Keywords: Collusion; Two-Sided Markets; Cross-Group Externalities
JEL Classification: L41; D43
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation