Study on 'Support to the Observatory for the Online Platform Economy' Analytical paper #4

Online platforms with significant/strategic market status

Published in: Observatory on the Online Platform Economy website (January 2021)

by Advait Deshpande, Cagla Stevenson, Amelia Harshfield, Salil Gunashekar

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The influence of the online platform economy has grown significantly over the last ten years. As the use and revenue of online platforms has grown, policy makers have increasingly questioned the concentration of market power in the hands of a small number of online platforms. The potential for these platforms to act as barriers to a competitive market has resulted in an increasing need for new policy approaches to assess whether online platforms have significant or strategic market status. A key part of this discussion has focused on whether traditional approaches, based around assessing market shares, are adequate. Increasingly, it has been thought that current policy approaches should be extended or adapted to consider the dynamic, varied and constantly changing nature of the online platform economy ecosystem.

The aim of this analytical paper is to examine the evidence in order to better understand the various issues relating to—as well as the strengths and weaknesses of—emerging approaches to identifying online platforms with significant/strategic market status.

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