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Cartelization Through Buyer Groups

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  • Chris Doyle
  • Martijn A. Han
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    Abstract

    Retailers may enjoy stable cartel rents in their output market through the formation of a buyer group in their input market. A buyer group allows retailers to credibly commit to increased input prices, which serve to reduce combined final output to the monopoly level; increased input costs are then refunded from suppliers to retailers through slotting allowances or rebates. The stability of such an “implied cartel” depends on the retailers’ incentives to secretly source from a supplier outside of the buyer group arrangement at lower input prices. Cheating is limited if retailers sign exclusive dealing or minimum purchase provisions. We discuss the relevancy of our findings for antitrust policy.

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    File URL: http://sfb649.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/papers/pdf/SFB649DP2012-059.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2012-059.

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    Length: 24 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2012-059

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    Related research

    Keywords: buyer groups; collusion; exclusive dealing; minimum purchase clauses; rebates;

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    References

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    1. Inderst, Roman & Wey, Christian, 2002. "Buyer Power and Supplier Incentives," CEPR Discussion Papers 3547, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. 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.
    3. Inderst, Roman & Wey, Christian, 2001. "Bargaining, Mergers and Technology Choice in Bilaterally Oligopolistic Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 2981, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Salvatore Piccolo & Jeanine Miklós-Thal, 2012. "Colluding through suppliers," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(3), pages 492-513, 09.
    5. Irmen, Andreas, 1998. " Precommitment in Competing Vertical Chains," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(4), pages 333-59, September.
    6. Øystein Foros & Hans Jarle Kind & Jan Yngve Sand, 2009. "Slotting Allowances and Manufacturers’ Retail Sales Effort," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 266-282, July.
    7. Roman Inderst & Tommaso M. Valletti, 2008. "Buyer Power and the “Waterbed Effect”," CEIS Research Paper 107, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 10 Jul 2008.
    8. Michael L. Katz, 1991. "Game-Playing Agents: Unobservable Contracts as Precommitments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 307-328, Autumn.
    9. Suchan Chae & Paul Heidhues, 2003. "Buyers’ Alliances for Bargaining Power," CIG Working Papers SP II 2003-24, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    10. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1998. "Exclusive Dealing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 64-103, February.
    11. Daniel P. O'Brien & Greg Shaffer, 1992. "Vertical Control with Bilateral Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(3), pages 299-308, Autumn.
    12. Leslie M. Marx & Greg Shaffer, 2007. "Upfront payments and exclusion in downstream markets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(3), pages 823-843, 09.
    13. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1987. "Contracts as a Barrier to Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 388-401, June.
    14. Dobson, Paul W & Waterson, Michael, 1997. "Countervailing Power and Consumer Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 418-30, March.
    15. Chen, Zhiqi & Ross, Thomas W., 2003. "Cooperating upstream while competing downstream: a theory of input joint ventures," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 381-397, March.
    16. Abito, Jose Miguel & Wright, Julian, 2008. "Exclusive dealing with imperfect downstream competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 227-246, January.
    17. Blair,Roger D. & Lafontaine,Francine, 2005. "The Economics of Franchising," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521772525, April.
    18. Snyder, Christopher M., 1998. "Why do larger buyers pay lower prices? Intense supplier competition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 205-209, February.
    19. �ystein Foros & Hans Jarle Kind, 2008. "Do Slotting Allowances Harm Retail Competition?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(2), pages 367-384, 06.
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