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Upstream uncertainty and countervailing power

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Author Info

  • Smith, Howard
  • Thanassoulis, John

Abstract

We study vertical contracting through bargaining between an upstream supplier and downstream retailers. We consider the effect of supplier uncertainty as to final volumes on the efficient bargains struck. Uncertainty causes retail price effects: large buyers wield countervailing power (deliver lower retail prices) if upstream marginal costs are decreasing. If there were no upstream uncertainty, downstream retail prices would be independent of buyer size. With enough uncertainty large buyers have buyer power also (secure advantageous input prices). Downstream mergers, or organic growth of a downstream firm, change the uncertainty facing the upstream supplier and so result in “waterbed effects” on other buyers. We show that uncertainty for suppliers can be generated by upstream competition.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 30 (2012)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 483-495

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Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:30:y:2012:i:6:p:483-495

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

Related research

Keywords: Countervailing power; Buyer power; Waterbed effects; Bargaining interface; Supply chain uncertainty; Vertical contracts;

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References

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  1. Steven Tadelis, 2009. "Auctions Versus Negotiations in Procurement: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 372-399, October.
  2. 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.
  3. Dixit, Avinash K, 1986. "Comparative Statics for Oligopoly," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(1), pages 107-22, February.
  4. Glenn MacDonald & Michael D. Ryall, 2004. "How Do Value Creation and Competition Determine Whether a Firm Appropriates Value?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(10), pages 1319-1333, October.
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  7. Patrick Rey & Jean Tirole, 1985. "The Logic of Vertical Restraints," Working papers 396, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Genakos, Christos D. & Valletti, Tommaso, 2009. "Testing the "Waterbed" Effect in Mobile Telephony," CEPR Discussion Papers 7611, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  11. Roman Inderst & Christian Wey, 2003. "Buyer Power and Supplier Incentives," CIG Working Papers SP II 2003-05, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  12. Roman Inderst & Christian Wey, 2001. "Bargaining, Mergers, and Technology Choice in Bilaterally Oligopolistic Industries," CIG Working Papers FS IV 01-19, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  13. Tasneem Chipty & Christopher M. Snyder, 1999. "The Role Of Firm Size In Bilateral Bargaining: A Study Of The Cable Television Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 326-340, May.
  14. Catherine C. de Fontenay & Joshua S. Gans, 2004. "Vertical Integration in the Presence of Upstream Competition," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 904, The University of Melbourne.
  15. Roman Inderst & Tommaso M. Valletti, 2008. "Buyer Power and the “Waterbed Effect”," CEIS Research Paper 107, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 10 Jul 2008.
  16. Carlton, Dennis W, 1979. "Vertical Integration in Competitive Markets under Uncertainty," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 189-209, March.
  17. Dobson, Paul W & Waterson, Michael, 1997. "Countervailing Power and Consumer Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 418-30, March.
  18. Ken Binmore & Ariel Rubinstein & Asher Wolinsky, 1986. "The Nash Bargaining Solution in Economic Modelling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(2), pages 176-188, Summer.
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Cited by:
  1. Chakraborty, Ratula & Dobson, Paul & Seaton, Jonathan S. & Waterson, Michael, 2011. "Pricing in inflationary times- the penny drops," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 975, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.

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