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Do Vertical Mergers Facilitate Upstream Collusion?

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  • Volker Nocke

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Lucy White

    ()
    (Finance, Harvard Business School)

Abstract

In this paper we investigate the impact of vertical mergers on upstream firms’ ability to sustain collusion. We show in a number of models that the net effect of vertical integration is to facilitate collusion. Several effects arise. When upstream offers are secret, vertical mergers facilitate collusion through the operation of an outlets effect: Cheating unintegrated firms can no longer profitably sell to the downstream affiliates of their integrated rivals. Vertical integration also facilitates collusion through a reaction effect: the vertically integrated firm’s ‘contract’ with its downstream affiliate can be more flexible and thus allows a swifter reaction in punishing defectors. Offsetting these two effects is a possible punishment effect which arises if the integrated structure is able to make more profits in the punishment phase than a disintegrated structure.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 03-033.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 17 Nov 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:03-033

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Keywords: vertical mergers; collusion;

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  1. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1996. "Exclusive Dealing," NBER Working Papers 5666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David M. Kreps & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1983. "Quantity Precommitment and Bertrand Competition Yield Cournot Outcomes," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 326-337, Autumn.
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  7. Rasmusen, Eric B & Ramseyer, J Mark & Wiley, John S, Jr, 1991. "Naked Exclusion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1137-45, December.
  8. Bruno Jullien & Patrick Rey, 2007. "Resale price maintenance and collusion," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(4), pages 983-1001, December.
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  10. Friedman, James W, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(113), pages 1-12, January.
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  12. Chen, Yongmin, 2001. "On Vertical Mergers and Their Competitive Effects," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(4), pages 667-85, Winter.
  13. Ken Hendricks & Rob Porter & Guofu Tan, 2000. "Joint Bidding in Federal Offshore Oil and Gas Lease Auctions," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1763, Econometric Society.
  14. Salant, Stephen W & Switzer, Sheldon & Reynolds, Robert J, 1983. "Losses from Horizontal Merger: The Effects of an Exogenous Change in Industry Structure on Cournot-Nash Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(2), pages 185-99, May.
  15. Levenstein, Margaret C, 1997. "Price Wars and the Stability of Collusion: A Study of the Pre-World War I Bromine Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 117-37, June.
  16. Bonanno, Giacomo & Vickers, John, 1988. "Vertical Separation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 257-65, March.
  17. Ilya Segal, 1999. "Contracting With Externalities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 337-388, May.
  18. Compte, Olivier & Jenny, Frederic & Rey, Patrick, 2002. "Capacity constraints, mergers and collusion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-29, January.
  19. Yongmin Chen, 2005. "Vertical Disintegration," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 209-229, 03.
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