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Do Vertical Mergers Facilitate Upstream Collusion?

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  • Lucy White
  • Volker Nocke

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 Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2004 Meeting Papers with number 45.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:45

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Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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Keywords: vertical mergers; collusion; vertical integration;

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References

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  1. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1998. "Exclusive Dealing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 64-103, February.
  2. McAfee, R Preston & Schwartz, Marius, 1994. "Opportunism in Multilateral Vertical Contracting: Nondiscrimination, Exclusivity, and Uniformity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 210-30, March.
  3. 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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  5. Rey, Patrick & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "A Primer on Foreclosure," IDEI Working Papers 203, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Nov 2005.
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  8. Hart, O. & Tirole, J., 1990. "Vertical Integration And Market Foreclosure," Working papers 548, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. 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.
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  12. Ilya Segal, 1999. "Contracting With Externalities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 337-388, May.
  13. Compte, Olivier & Jenny, Frederic & Rey, Patrick, 2002. "Capacity constraints, mergers and collusion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-29, January.
  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. Yongmin Chen, 2000. "On Vertical Mergers and Their Competitive Effects," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0383, Econometric Society.
  16. 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.
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