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Chicken & Egg: Competition among Intermediation Service Providers

Bernard Caillaud () and Bruno Jullien ()

RAND Journal of Economics, 2003, vol. 34, issue 2, 309-28

Abstract: We analyze a model of imperfect price competition between intermediation service providers. We insist on features that are relevant for informational intermediation via the Internet: the presence of indirect network externalities, the possibility of using the nonexclusive services of several intermediaries, and the widespread practice of price discrimination based on users' identity and on usage. Efficient market structures emerge in equilibrium, as well as some specific form of inefficient structures. Intermediaries have incentives to propose non-exclusive services, as this moderates competition and allows them to exert market power. We analyze in detail the pricing and business strategies followed by intermediation services providers. Copyright 2003 by the RAND Corporation.

Date: 2003
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