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Liberalizing A Distribution System: The European Car Market

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Author Info

  • Randy Brenkers

    (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.)

  • Frank Verboven

    (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.)

Abstract

We quantify the competitive effects of liberalizing the selective and exclusive distribution system in the European car market, based on a model of oligopoly pricing with differentiated products. We consider two possible competitive effects from liberalization: (i) the creation of international intrabrand competition (cross-border trade), which will result in a reduction of international price discrimination; and (ii) a possible cumulative effect arising from a strengthening of national intrabrand competition, which would result in reduced double marginalization. We find that the reduction in international price discrimination mainly redistributes consumer gains across countries; it has a positive but modest effect on total welfare. If liberalization also has the cumulative effect of reducing double marginalization, the welfare effects are much higher. Finally, we find that the effects of liberalization on the manufacturers' profits are either small or positive. This finding implies that international price discrimination, and softening competition through a double marginalization mechanism, should not be interpreted as main profit motives for the previous distribution system, but only as unintended side effects. Hence, the industry rationale for maintaining the previous distribution system should be sought in other areas. (JEL: F15, L42) Copyright (c) 2006 by the European Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 4 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 216-251

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:4:y:2006:i:1:p:216-251

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Cited by:
  1. Raphael A. Auer & Thomas Chaney & Philip Sauré, 2012. "Quality pricing-to-market," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 125, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  2. Hellerstein, Rebecca & Villas-Boas, Sofia B., 2010. "Outsourcing and Pass-Through," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt8098p5nq, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  3. Adachi, Takanori & Ebina, Takeshi, 2014. "Double marginalization and cost pass-through: Weyl–Fabinger and Cowan meet Spengler and Bresnahan–Reiss," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 170-175.
  4. Milliou, Chrysovalantou & Petrakis, Emmanuel, 2007. "Upstream horizontal mergers, vertical contracts, and bargaining," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 963-987, October.
  5. Jorge, Sí­lvia Ferreira & Pires, Cesaltina Pacheco, 2008. "Delivered versus mill nonlinear pricing with endogenous market structure," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 829-845, May.

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