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Do Vertical Mergers Facilitate Upstream Collusion?

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  • Volker Nocke
  • Lucy White

Abstract

We investigate the impact of vertical mergers on upstream firms' ability to collude when selling to downstream firms in a repeated game. We show that vertical mergers give rise to an outlets effect: the deviation profits of cheating unintegrated firms are reduced as these firms can no longer profitably sell to the downstream affiliates of their integrated rivals. Vertical mergers also result in an opposing punishment effect: integrated firms typically make more profit in the punishment phase than unintegrated upstream firms. The net result of these effects in an unintegrated industry is to facilitate upstream collusion. We provide conditions under which further vertical integration also facilitates collusion. (JEL D43, G34, L12, L13)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.97.4.1321
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 97 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 1321-1339

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:97:y:2007:i:4:p:1321-1339

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.97.4.1321
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  1. Rasmusen, Eric B & Ramseyer, J Mark & Wiley, John S, Jr, 1991. "Naked Exclusion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1137-45, December.
  2. Salant, Stephen W & Switzer, Sheldon & Reynolds, Robert J, 1983. "Losses from Horizontal Merger: The Effects of an Exogenous Change in Industry Structure on Cournot-Nash Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(2), pages 185-99, May.
  3. Ilya Segal, 1999. "Contracting With Externalities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 337-388, May.
  4. Bonanno, Giacomo & Vickers, John, 1988. "Vertical Separation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 257-65, March.
  5. Bernheim, B.D., 1992. "Exclusive Dealing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1622, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. Yongmin Chen, 2000. "On Vertical Mergers and Their Competitive Effects," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0383, Econometric Society.
  7. Levenstein, Margaret C, 1997. "Price Wars and the Stability of Collusion: A Study of the Pre-World War I Bromine Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 117-37, June.
  8. Rey, Patrick & Tirole, Jean, 2007. "A Primer on Foreclosure," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
  9. McAfee, R Preston & Schwartz, Marius, 1994. "Opportunism in Multilateral Vertical Contracting: Nondiscrimination, Exclusivity, and Uniformity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 210-30, March.
  10. Ken Hendricks & Rob Porter & Guofu Tan, 2000. "Joint Bidding in Federal Offshore Oil and Gas Lease Auctions," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1763, Econometric Society.
  11. Jullien, Bruno & Rey, Patrick, 2000. "Resale Price Maintenance and Collusion," IDEI Working Papers 102, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  12. Friedman, James W, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(113), pages 1-12, January.
  13. Hart, O. & Tirole, J., 1990. "Vertical Integration And Market Foreclosure," Working papers 548, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. Compte, Olivier & Jenny, Frederic & Rey, Patrick, 2002. "Capacity constraints, mergers and collusion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-29, January.
  15. Michael D. Whinston & Ilya R. Segal, 2000. "Naked Exclusion: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 296-309, March.
  16. Yongmin Chen, 2005. "Vertical Disintegration," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 209-229, 03.
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