Multi-Sided Platforms: Business, Economics & Competition Policy
Professor David Evans (UCL / University of Chicago)
Organised by the UCL Centre for Law, Economics and Society and the UCL Jevons Institute for Competition Law and Economics
About the course
All of the “sharing-economy” firms, such as Uber, Airbnb, and BlaBlaCar, many of the biggest companies in the world, including Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, and many of the firms that lead the online economy are matchmakers. These businesses all operate physical or virtual platforms where they connect members of one group of customers, like people looking for a ride, with another group of companies, like drivers. Economists call them “multi-sided platforms” and have developed a new body of economics that explains how they work and why they are different from traditional firms.
Multi-sided platform businesses are often at the heart of debates concerning competition policy and sectoral regulation including, in the EU, the current on-line sectoral inquiry and the interchange fee controversies. Platforms have been the subject of several significant court judgments around the world including by the European Court of Justice in Cartes Bancaires v. European Commission, the Chinese Supreme Peoples’ Court in Qihoo360 v. Tencent, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in U.S. Department of Justice v. American Express et al.
This course will cover the unique business models followed by multi-sided businesses; the economics of multi-sided platforms and the industries they anchor; the application of competition policy to multi-sided platforms; a survey of key competition policy and regulatory matters involving these platforms; and tools and techniques for competition policy analysis.
The course will include presentations from several executives of multi-sided platforms including incumbents and startups.
The course will consist of three segments:
The Business and Economics of Multi-sided Platforms.
Market Definition, Market Power, and Merger Analysis for Multi-sided Platforms
Abuse of Dominance and Coordinated Practices for Multi-sided Platforms
The course will draw extensively on examples of multi-sided platform cases involving digital platforms and payment schemes drawn from the EU, US, China, and other jurisdictions.
Who should attend:
The course mainly designed for specialists in competition policy and sectoral regulation (lawyers, economists, and officials) but should also be informative for anyone who works for, invests in, must interact with multi-sided platform businesses.
There are no pre-requisites for attending this course. Students are encouraged to purchase David S. Evans and Richard Schmalensee, Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms (Harvard Business Review Press, 2016). A suggested reading list will be distributed two weeks before the course.
To register and for further information, please visit the course website.