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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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    1. Dobson, Paul W & Waterson, Michael, 1997. "Countervailing Power and Consumer Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 418-30, March.
    2. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1996. "Exclusive Dealing," NBER Working Papers 5666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    14. Inderst, Roman & Wey, Christian, 2001. "Bargaining, Mergers and Technology Choice in Bilaterally Oligopolistic Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 2981, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Andreas IRMEN, 1996. "Precommitment in Competing Vertical Chains," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9617, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. Salvatore Piccolo, 2009. "Colluding through Suppliers," CSEF Working Papers 224, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 08 Apr 2010.
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