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Vertical Control of a Distribution Network - An Empirical Analysis of Magazines

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  • Ferrari, Stijn
  • Verboven, Frank

Abstract

How does an upstream firm determine the size of its distribution network, and what is the role of vertical restraints? To address these questions we develop and estimate two models of outlet entry, starting from the basic trade-off between market expansion and fixed costs. In the coordinated entry model the upstream firm sets a market-specific wholesale price to implement the first-best number of outlets. In the restricted/free entry model the upstream firm has insufficient price instruments to target local markets. It sets a uniform wholesale price, and restricts entry in markets where market expansion is low, while allowing free entry elsewhere. We apply the two models to magazine distribution. The evidence is more consistent with the second model where the upstream firm sets a uniform wholesale price and restricts the number of entry licenses. We use the model to assess the profitability of modifying the vertical restraints. A government ban on restriced licensing would reduce profits by a limited amount, so that the business rationale for restricted licensing should be sought elsewhere. Furthermore, introducing market-specific wholesale prices would implement the first-best, but the profit increase would be small, providing a rationale for the current uniform wholesale prices.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7832.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7832

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Keywords: entry models; magazine distribution; vertical restraints;

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References

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  1. Kaiser, Ulrich & Song, Minjae, 2009. "Do media consumers really dislike advertising? An empirical assessment of the role of advertising in print media markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 292-301, March.
  2. Miklós-Thal, Jeanine & Rey, Patrick & Vergé, Thibaud, 2010. "Vertical relations," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 345-349, July.
  3. Bonnet, Céline & Dubois, Pierre, 2009. "Inference on Vertical Contracts between Manufacturers and Retailers Allowing for Nonlinear Pricing and Resale Price Maintenance," IDEI Working Papers 583, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  4. Villas-Boas, Sofia B., 2006. "Vertical relationships between manufacturers and retailers: inference with limited data," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt0z26d2v9, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  5. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Peter C. Reiss, 1985. "Dealer and Manufacturer Margins," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(2), pages 253-268, Summer.
  6. Gallini, Nancy T. & Winter, Ralph A., 1983. "On vertical control in monopolistic competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 275-286, September.
  7. repec:bla:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:2:p:625-652 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. G.F. Mathewson & R.A. Winter, 1984. "An Economic Theory of Vertical Restraints," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 27-38, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. Herweg, Fabian & Müller, Daniel, 2011. "Price Discrimination in Input Markets: Quantity Discounts and Private Information," Discussion Papers in Economics 12414, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. PEETERS, Thomas & SZYMANSKI, Stefan, 2012. "Vertical restraints in soccer: Financial fair play and the English Premier League," Working Papers 2012028, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
  3. Fabian Herweg & Daniel Müller, 2014. "Price Discrimination in Input Markets: Quantity Discounts and Private Information," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(577), pages 776-804, 06.

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