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Buyer Power And The ‘Waterbed Effect’

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  • ROMAN INDERST
  • TOMMASO M. VALLETTI

Abstract

We present a simple model where the growth of one downstream firm generates lower wholesale prices for this firm but higher wholesale prices for its competitors (the “waterbed effect”). We derive conditions for when, even though firms compete in strategic complements, this harms consumers. This is more likely if larger firms already obtain substantial discounts compared to their smaller competitors. Furthermore, the identified “waterbed effect” holds irrespective of whether a firm grows by acquisition or “organically” by becoming more efficient.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal The Journal of Industrial Economics.

Volume (Year): 59 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 1-20

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jindec:v:59:y:2011:i:1:p:1-20

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References

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  1. Inderst, Roman & Wey, Christian, 2003. " Bargaining, Mergers, and Technology Choice in Bilaterally Oligopolistic Industries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(1), pages 1-19, Spring.
  2. Zhiqi Chen, 2004. "Countervailing Power and Product Diversity," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 279, Econometric Society.
  3. Katz, Michael L, 1987. "The Welfare Effects of Third-Degree Price Discrimination in," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 154-67, March.
  4. Chen, Zhiqi, 2003. " Dominant Retailers and the Countervailing-Power Hypothesis," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(4), pages 612-25, Winter.
  5. Dobson, Paul W & Waterson, Michael, 1997. "Countervailing Power and Consumer Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 418-30, March.
  6. Athey, Susan & Schmutzler, Armin, 2001. "Investment and Market Dominance," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 1-26, Spring.
  7. João VIEIRA-MONTEZ, 2004. "Downstream Concentration and Producer's Capacity Choice," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 04.13, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  8. G. Frank Mathewson & Ralph A. Winter, 1995. "Buyer Groups," Working Papers rwinter-96-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  9. Emmanuel Petrakis & Chrysovalantou Miliou & Nikos Vettas, 2009. "(In)efficient trading forms in competing vertical chains," Working Papers 0916, University of Crete, Department of Economics.
  10. Gans, Joshua S. & King, Stephen P., 2002. "Exclusionary contracts and competition for large buyers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(9), pages 1363-1381, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Zhijun Chen & Patrick Rey, 2010. "Loss Leading as an Exploitative Practice," Working Papers hal-00540724, HAL.
  2. Boone, Jan & Douven, Rudy & Droge, Carline & Mosca, Ilaria, 2010. "Health insurance competition: the effect of group contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 7871, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. von Schlippenbach, Vanessa & Wey, Christian, 2011. "One-stop shopping behavior, buyer power, and upstream merger incentives," DICE Discussion Papers 27, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  4. Noriaki Matsushima & Laixun Zhao, 2010. "Multimarket linkages, buyer power, and the productivity puzzle," ISER Discussion Paper 0797, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  5. Heimeshoff, Ulrich & Klein, Gordon J., 2013. "Bargaining power and local heroes," DICE Discussion Papers 87, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  6. Fabian Herweg & Daniel Müller, 2012. "Price Discrimination in Input Markets: Downstream Entry and Efficiency," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(3), pages 773-799, 09.
  7. Özlem Bedre-Defolie & Stéphane Caprice, 2011. "Merger Efficiency and Welfare Implications of Buyer Power," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1144, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  8. Chris Doyle & Martijn A. Han, 2012. "Cartelization Through Buyer Groups," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2012-059, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  9. Marie-Laure Allain & Claire Chambolle & Stéphane Turolla & Sofia Villas-Boas, 2013. "The Impact of Retail Mergers on Food Prices: Evidence from France," Working Papers hal-00920460, HAL.
  10. Smith, Howard & Thanassoulis, John, 2012. "Upstream uncertainty and countervailing power," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 483-495.
  11. Roman Inderst & Christian Wey, 2008. "Die Wettbewerbsanalyse von Nachfragemacht aus verhandlungstheoretischer Sicht," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9(4), pages 465-485, November.
  12. Hans-Theo Normann, 2008. "Vertical Integration, Raising Rivals’ Costs and Upstream Collusion," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2008_30, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  13. Vanessa von Schlippenbach, 2008. "Complementarities, Below-Cost Pricing, and Welfare Losses," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 788, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  14. Marie-Laure Allain & Claire Chambolle & Stéphane Turolla & Sofia B. villas-boas, 2014. "The impact of retail mergers on food prices: evidence from France," Working Papers SMART - LERECO 14-02, INRA UMR SMART.

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