Market Definition in the Platform Economy
CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series 2021, final version Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies (CYELS), forthcoming
36 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2021 Last revised: 3 Nov 2021
Date Written: March 1, 2021
The article addresses the role market definition can play for EU competition practice in the platform economy. The focus is on intermediaries that bring together two (or more) groups of users whose decisions are interdependent and which therefore are commonly referred to as “two-sided platforms”. We address challenges to market definition that accompany these cross-group network effects, assess current practice in a number of cases with the European Commission and Member States’ competition authorities, and provide guidance on how prac-tice is to be adapted to properly account for the economic forces shaping markets with two-sided platforms. Owing to the complementarities of services provided to the user groups the platforms cater to, the question arises whether and when a single market can be defined that encompasses both sides. We advocate a multi-markets approach that takes account of cross-market linkages, acknowledges the existence of zero-price markets, and properly accounts for the homing behaviour of market participants.
Keywords: antitrust law, EU competition practice, market definition, market power, Market Definition Notice, two-sided platforms, digital markets, network effects, matching platforms, zero-price markets, homing decisions, SSNIP test
JEL Classification: K21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation