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How Strong Buyers Spur Upstream Innovation

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  • Inderst, Roman
  • Wey, Christian

Abstract

We challenge the view that the presence of powerful buyers stifles suppliers' incentives to innovate. Following Katz (1987), we model buyer power as buyers' ability to substitute away from a given supplier and isolate several effects that support the opposite view, namely that the presence of powerful buyers induces a supplier to invest more in cost reduction. In contrast to negotiations with smaller buyers, the outcome of negotiations with large buyers is fully determined by their more valuable alternative supply option. This increases the supplier's incentives to reduce marginal costs, both as the supplier receives a larger fraction of the thereby generated incremental profits and as this makes buyers' alternative supply option less valuable. The latter effect is due to downstream competition between buyers and, as we show, is also stronger the larger and thus the more powerful buyers are.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5365.

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Date of creation: Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5365

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Keywords: buyer power; investment incentives; merger;

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Cited by:
  1. Chiara Fumagalli & Massimo Motta, 2008. "Buyers' Miscoordination, Entry and Downstream Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(531), pages 1196-1222, 08.
  2. Venturini, Luciano, 2006. "Vertical competition between manufacturers and retailers and upstream incentives to innovate and differentiate," 98th Seminar, June 29-July 2, 2006, Chania, Crete, Greece 10050, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  3. Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Fumagalli, Chiara & Polo, Michele, 2007. "Buyer power and quality improvements," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 45-61, June.
  4. Marvel, Howard P. & Yang, Huanxing, 2008. "Group purchasing, nonlinear tariffs, and oligopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 1090-1105, September.

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