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Incentives for Retailer Forecasting: Rebates vs. Returns


  • Terry A. Taylor

    () (Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720)

  • Wenqiang Xiao

    () (Stern School of Business, New York University, New York, New York 10012)


This paper studies a manufacturer that sells to a newsvendor retailer who can improve the quality of her demand information by exerting costly forecasting effort. In such a setting, contracts play two roles: providing incentives to influence the retailer's forecasting decision and eliciting information obtained by forecasting to inform production decisions. We focus on two forms of contracts that are widely used in such settings and are mirror images of one another: a rebates contract, which compensates the retailer for the units she sells to end consumers, and a returns contract, which compensates the retailer for the units that are unsold. We characterize the optimal rebates contracts and returns contracts. Under rebates, the retailer, manufacturer, and total system may benefit from the retailer having inferior forecasting technology; this never occurs under returns. Although one might conjecture that returns would be inferior because its provision of "insurance" would discourage the retailer from forecasting, we show that returns are superior.

Suggested Citation

  • Terry A. Taylor & Wenqiang Xiao, 2009. "Incentives for Retailer Forecasting: Rebates vs. Returns," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(10), pages 1654-1669, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:55:y:2009:i:10:p:1654-1669

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Terry A. Taylor, 2006. "Sale Timing in a Supply Chain: When to Sell to the Retailer," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 8(1), pages 23-42, November.
    2. Harish Krishnan & Roman Kapuscinski & David A. Butz, 2004. "Coordinating Contracts for Decentralized Supply Chains with Retailer Promotional Effort," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(1), pages 48-63, January.
    3. Hamilton Emmons & Stephen M. Gilbert, 1998. "Note. The Role of Returns Policies in Pricing and Inventory Decisions for Catalogue Goods," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(2), pages 276-283, February.
    4. V. Padmanabhan & I. P. L. Png, 1997. "Manufacturer's Return Policies and Retail Competition," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 16(1), pages 81-94.
    5. Marshall Fisher & Kumar Rajaram, 2000. "Accurate Retail Testing of Fashion Merchandise: Methodology and Application," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 19(3), pages 266-278, June.
    6. Barry Alan Pasternack, 1985. "Optimal Pricing and Return Policies for Perishable Commodities," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 4(2), pages 166-176.
    7. Karen L. Donohue, 2000. "Efficient Supply Contracts for Fashion Goods with Forecast Updating and Two Production Modes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(11), pages 1397-1411, November.
    8. Terry A. Taylor, 2002. "Supply Chain Coordination Under Channel Rebates with Sales Effort Effects," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(8), pages 992-1007, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. João Montez, 2015. "Controlling opportunism in vertical contracting when production precedes sales," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(3), pages 650-670, September.
    2. repec:eee:jomega:v:78:y:2018:i:c:p:179-191 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Terry A. Taylor & Wenqiang Xiao, 2010. "Does a Manufacturer Benefit from Selling to a Better-Forecasting Retailer?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(9), pages 1584-1598, September.
    4. Chen, Jingxian & Liang, Liang & Yang, Feng, 2015. "Cooperative quality investment in outsourcing," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 174-191.
    5. Mümin Kurtuluş & Sezer Ülkü & Beril L. Toktay, 2012. "The Value of Collaborative Forecasting in Supply Chains," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 14(1), pages 82-98, January.
    6. repec:spr:annopr:v:264:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10479-017-2717-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Huang, Song & Yang, Jun, 2016. "Information acquisition and transparency in a supply chain with asymmetric production cost information," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 182(C), pages 449-464.
    8. Altug, Mehmet Sekip, 2016. "Supply chain contracting for vertically differentiated products," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 171(P1), pages 34-45.
    9. Zhao, Yingxue & Choi, Tsan-Ming & Cheng, T.C.E. & Sethi, Suresh P. & Wang, Shouyang, 2014. "Buyback contracts with price-dependent demands: Effects of demand uncertainty," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 239(3), pages 663-673.
    10. repec:wsi:apjorx:v:34:y:2017:i:01:n:s0217595917400024 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:eee:proeco:v:188:y:2017:i:c:p:128-138 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Guoming Lai & Wenqiang Xiao & Jun Yang, 2012. "Supply Chain Performance Under Market Valuation: An Operational Approach to Restore Efficiency," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(10), pages 1933-1951, October.
    13. Subhajyoti Bandyopadhyay & Anand A. Paul, 2010. "Equilibrium Returns Policies in the Presence of Supplier Competition," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(5), pages 846-857, 09-10.
    14. Chen, Xiangfeng, 2015. "A model of trade credit in a capital-constrained distribution channel," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 347-357.


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