Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Keystone Players and Complementors: An Innovation Perspective

Keystone Players and Complementors: An Innovation Perspective

Frédéric M. Marty

Research Group on Law, Economics and Management (UMR CNRS 7321 GREDEG) / Université Nice Sophia Antipolis; OFCE; Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organization (CIRANO)

Thierry Warin

HEC Montreal; CIRANO


In this article, we investigate the role of keystone players and consider their impact in terms of innovation rate in an industry. To do so, we build a theoretical framework that considers the innovation rate in the context of an industry with one keystone player and then with multiple keystone players. The results are threefold. First, the presence of a keystone player is incredibly important for innovation on a market. Second, however, our results also show that a biased market power in favor of the keystone player may hinder innovation in this industry, although the negative impact on the industry’s innovation rate may not be seen at first. Finally, we demonstrate that an industry obtains a higher innovation rate with multiple keystone players. This framework could inform decisions for the antitrust enforcers.

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