Towards a Theory of Platform Dynamics

13 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2019

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: Spring 2019

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 an optimal platform pricing addresses two externalities: across sides and across time periods. This results in optimal prices which depend on platform size in a nontrivial way. By means of numerical simulations, I examine the determinants of equilibrium platform size, showing that the stationary distribution of platform size may be bimodal, 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 versus nonproprietary (i.e., zero‐priced) platforms, and consider the specific case of asymmetric platforms (one side cares about the other but not vice versa).

Keywords: dynamics, platforms, two‐sided markets

Suggested Citation

Cabral, Luis M. B., Towards a Theory of Platform Dynamics (Spring 2019). Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Vol. 28, Issue 1, pp. 60-72, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3320055 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jems.12312

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)

London
United Kingdom

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