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Parallel trade, price discrimination, investment and price caps

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  • Stefan Szymanski
  • Tommaso Valletti

Abstract

type="main" xml:lang="en"> Parallel trade is the resale of a product by a wholesaler in a market other than that intended by the manufacturer. One of its consequences is that manufacturers may be prevented from price discriminating between markets that have different willingness to pay for the product in question. Some legal regimes give the manufacturer the right to prohibit parallel trade, but others do not. We examine the policy implications of parallel trade in a world in which manufacturers invest in product quality, and have the possibility to develop different quality variants of their goods. We also consider the possibility that the authorities may impose price caps and compulsory licensing (as commonly occurs for some pharmaceutical products). We find that taking investment incentives into account makes parallel trade much less likely to enhance overall welfare, which implies that parallel trade in products intensive in R&D, such as pharmaceuticals, is less desirable than in fields such as branded consumer products. We also find that, somewhat surprisingly, the threat of parallel trade does not induce firms to market inferior versions of their products in poor countries. However, parallel trade is less likely to be detrimental to welfare when there are price caps, since compulsory licensing can mitigate the major cost of parallel trade (namely a refusal to supply a poor country market). — Stefan Szymanski and Tommaso Valletti

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Szymanski & Tommaso Valletti, 2005. "Parallel trade, price discrimination, investment and price caps," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(44), pages 705-749, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecpoli:v:20:y:2005:i:44:p:705-749
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1468-0327.2005.00149.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Fabio Pammolli & Armando Rungi, 2016. "Access to Medicines and European Market Integration," Working Papers 01/2016, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, revised Jan 2016.
    2. repec:bla:worlde:v:40:y:2017:i:8:p:1531-1546 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Méjean, Isabelle & Schwellnus, Cyrille, 2009. "Price convergence in the European Union: Within firms or composition of firms?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 1-10, June.
    4. Panos Kanavos & Sotiris Vandoros, 2010. "Competition in prescription drug markets: is parallel trade the answer?," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(5), pages 325-338.
    5. Gene M. Grossman & Edwin L.-C. Lai, 2008. "Parallel imports and price controls," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 378-402.
    6. Patricia Danzon & Adrian Towse & Jorge Mestre‐Ferrandiz, 2015. "Value‐Based Differential Pricing: Efficient Prices for Drugs in a Global Context," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(3), pages 294-301, March.
    7. Mueller-Langer, Frank, 2010. "An analysis of the ambiguous welfare effects of parallel trade freedom," MPRA Paper 35704, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Daems, Rutger & Maes, Edith & Ramani, Shyama V., 2011. "Global Framework for Differential Pricing of Pharmaceuticals," MERIT Working Papers 054, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    9. Kyle Margaret, 2011. "Strategic Responses to Parallel Trade," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-34, January.
    10. Rajat Acharyya & María D. C. García-Alonso, 2014. "Universal Access, Parallel Trade And Incentives To Innovate," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(S1), pages 74-91, December.
    11. Rutger Daems & Edith Maes, 2014. "Global Pharmaceutical Management: Building a Fair Pricing Policy," Working Papers 2014/05, Maastricht School of Management.
    12. Patricia M. Danzon & Andrew W. Mulcahy & Adrian K. Towse, 2015. "Pharmaceutical Pricing in Emerging Markets: Effects of Income, Competition, and Procurement," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(2), pages 238-252, February.
    13. Belleflamme,Paul & Peitz,Martin, 2015. "Industrial Organization," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107069978, May.
    14. Frank Mueller-Langer, 2014. "Copyright and parallel trade," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Copyright, chapter 16, pages 287-310 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    15. Hostenkamp, Gisela & Kronborg, Christian & Arendt, Jacob Nielsen, 2012. "Parallel imports of hospital pharmaceuticals: An empirical analysis of price effects from parallel imports and the design of procurement procedures in the Danish hospital sector," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 16/2012, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
    16. Höffler, Felix & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2008. "Two tales on resale," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 1448-1460, November.
    17. Mueller-Langer, Frank, 2009. "Does parallel trade freedom harm consumers in small markets?," MPRA Paper 40194, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Nikolaos Zevgolis & Panagiotis Fotis, 2014. "Prohibition of parallel imports as a vertical restraint: per se approach or a misunderstanding?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 317-342, October.
    19. Hamelmann, Lisa & Klein, Gordon J., 2017. "Removing geo-blocking: What are the effects on innovation for vertically differentiated goods?," CAWM Discussion Papers 100, University of Münster, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM).
    20. Costa-i-Font, Joan & Kanavos, Panos, 2007. "Medicines in parallel trade in the European Union: a gravity specification," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28787, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    21. Valletti, Tommaso M., 2006. "Differential pricing, parallel trade, and the incentive to invest," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 314-324, September.
    22. Shen Guo & Bin Hu & Hai Zhong, 2013. "Impact of parallel trade on pharmaceutical firm’s profits: rise or fall?," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 14(2), pages 345-355, April.
    23. Tsuyoshi Toshimitsu, 2014. "Economic Integration, Quality Choice, and Monopoly," Discussion Paper Series 118, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised May 2014.

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