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Retail Mergers, Buyer Power and Product Variety

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  • Roman Inderst
  • Greg Shaffer

Abstract

This article analyses the impact of retail mergers on product variety. We show that, following a merger, a retailer may want to enhance its buyer power by committing to a 'single-sourcing' purchasing strategy. Anticipating further concentration in the retail industry, suppliers will strategically choose to produce less differentiated products, which further reduces product variety. If negotiations are efficient, the overall loss in product variety may reduce consumer surplus and total welfare. With linear tariffs, however, there may be a countervailing effect as the more powerful retailer passes on lower prices to final consumers. Copyright 2007 The Author(s). Journal compilation Royal Economic Society 2007.

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  • Roman Inderst & Greg Shaffer, 2007. "Retail Mergers, Buyer Power and Product Variety," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 45-67, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:117:y:2007:i:516:p:45-67
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Inderst, Roman & Wey, Christian, 2007. "Buyer power and supplier incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 647-667, April.
    2. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1983. "Bundling Decisions by a Multiproduct Monopolist with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(2), pages 463-483, March.
    3. Martin K. Perry & JÛzsef S·kovics, 2003. "Auctions for Split-Award Contracts," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 215-242, June.
    4. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan & Michael D. Whinston, 1989. "Multiproduct Monopoly, Commodity Bundling, and Correlation of Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 371-383.
    5. Henrick Horn & Asher Wolinsky, 1988. "Bilateral Monopolies and Incentives for Merger," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 408-419, Autumn.
    6. Katz, Michael L, 1987. "The Welfare Effects of Third-Degree Price Discrimination in," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 154-167, March.
    7. Tasneem Chipty & Christopher M. Snyder, 1999. "The Role Of Firm Size In Bilateral Bargaining: A Study Of The Cable Television Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 326-340, May.
    8. Dobson, Paul W & Waterson, Michael, 1997. "Countervailing Power and Consumer Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 418-430, March.
    9. William James Adams & Janet L. Yellen, 1976. "Commodity Bundling and the Burden of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(3), pages 475-498.
    10. Paul Dobson & Michael Waterson, 1999. "Retailer power: recent developments and policy implications," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 14(28), pages 133-164, April.
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    JEL classification:

    • L00 - Industrial Organization - - General - - - General

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