Platform Price Parity Clauses with Direct Sales
Seminar by Thibaud Vergé (CREST, ENSAE)
On Friday, December 09, 2016 at 01:30 pm (Séminaire 6 - B31)
In the context of vertical contractual relationships, where competing sellers distribute their products directly as well as through competing intermediation platforms, we analyze the welfare effects of price parity clauses. These contractual clauses prevent a seller from offering its product at a lower price on other platforms or through its own direct sales channel. Recently, they have been the subject of several antitrust investigations. Contrary to the theories of harm developed by competition agencies and in some of the recent literature, we show that when we account for the sellers' participation constraints, price parity clauses do not always lead to higher commissions and final prices. Instead, we find that they may simultaneously benefit all the actors (platforms, sellers and consumers), even in the absence of traditional efficiency arguments.