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Quality Selection in Two-Sided Markets: A Constrained Price Discrimination Approach

Ramesh Johari, Bar Light and Gabriel Weintraub

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Abstract: Online platforms collect rich information about participants and then share some of this information back with them to improve market outcomes. In this paper we study the following information disclosure problem in two-sided markets: If a platform wants to maximize revenue, which sellers should the platform allow to participate, and how much of its available information about participating sellers' quality should the platform share with buyers? We study this information disclosure problem in the context of two distinct two-sided market models: one in which the platform chooses prices and the sellers choose quantities (similar to ride-sharing), and one in which the sellers choose prices (similar to e-commerce). Our main results provide conditions under which simple information structures commonly observed in practice, such as banning certain sellers from the platform while not distinguishing between participating sellers, maximize the platform's revenue. An important innovation in our analysis is to transform the platform's information disclosure problem into a constrained price discrimination problem. We leverage this transformation to obtain our structural results.

Date: 2019-12, Revised 2020-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-com and nep-mic
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