Towards a Theory of Platform Dynamics

21 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2018

See all articles by Luis M. B. Cabral

Luis M. B. Cabral

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: July 2018

Abstract

I introduce a dynamic framework to analyze platforms. The (single) platform owner sets prices at the beginning of each period. Agents (buyers, sellers, readers, consumers, merchants, etc) make platform membership decisions occasionally. I show that optimal platform pricing addresses two externalities: across sides and across time periods. This results in optimal prices which depend on platform size in a non-trivial way. By means of numerical simulations, I examine the determinants of equilibrium platform size, showing that the stationary distribution of platform size may be bi-modal, that is, with some probability the platform remains very low or takes very long to increase in size. I also contrast the dynamics of proprietary vs non-proprietary (i.e., zero-priced) platforms; and consider the specific case of asymmetric platforms (one side cares about the other but not vice-versa).

Suggested Citation

Cabral, Luis M. B., Towards a Theory of Platform Dynamics (July 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13052. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3218336

Luis M. B. Cabral (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/~lcabral

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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