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Efficiency and Foreclosure Effects of All-Units Discounts: Empirical Evidence

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  • Christopher T. Conlon
  • Julie Holland Mortimer

Abstract

All-Units Discounts are vertical rebates in which a manufacturer pays a retailer a linear wholesale price up to a quantity threshold; beyond the threshold, the retailer receives a discount on all future and previous units. Such contracts, which are common in many industries, potentially have both efficiency and foreclosure effects. Using a new dataset containing detailed information on the sales and rebate payments of a retailer in the confections industry, we estimate structural models of demand and retailer effort to quantify the efficiency gains induced by the contract. We show how the contract allocates the cost of a stock-out between the manufacturer and retailer, and find evidence that the contract increases industry profitability, but fails to implement the product assortment that maximizes social surplus for the industry. Finally, we point out that the impact of many upstream mergers is felt through wholesale prices instead of retail prices. We examine the impact of various upstream mergers on the willingness of the dominant manufacturer to offer rebate contracts, and the impact that the rebate contracts have on social welfare.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19709.

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Date of creation: Dec 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19709

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