NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Antitrust Analysis of Multi-Sided Platform Businesses

David S. Evans, Richard Schmalensee

NBER Working Paper No. 18783
Issued in February 2013
NBER Program(s):   IO

This Chapter provides a survey of the economics literature on multi-sided platforms with particular focus on competition policy issues, including market definition, mergers, monopolization, and coordinated behavior. It provides a survey of the general industrial organization theory of multi-sided platforms and then considers various issues concerning the application of antitrust analysis to multi-sided platform businesses. It shows that it is not possible to know whether standard economic models, often relied on for antitrust analysis, apply to multi-sided platforms without explicitly considering the existence of multiple customer groups with interdependent demand. It summarizes many theoretical and empirical papers that demonstrate that a number of results for single-sided firms, which are the focus of much of the applied antitrust economics literature, do not apply directly to multi-sided platforms.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18783

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