IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Benefits of Competitive Upward Channel Decentralization


  • Yunchuan Liu

    () (College of Business, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois 61820)

  • Rajeev K. Tyagi

    () (The Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, Calilfornia 92697)


Upward channel decentralization occurs when firms choose to not manufacture products by themselves and procure products from upstream suppliers. Current voices from marketing scholars and practitioners have predominantly focused on the cost benefits when production is outsourced to lower-cost upstream suppliers. In this paper, we study the effects of upward channel decentralization where competing firms can outsource their production to upstream suppliers who do not have any advantages on production costs. We show how downstream firms can still benefit from upward channel decentralization provided their product positioning is endogenous. Thus, we provide a new theory on the strategic benefits of upward channel decentralization. We also use this framework to show a new benefit to manufacturers selling through downstream retailers rather than directly. We examine the implications of our theory for consumer and social welfare, and also draw managerial implications. This paper was accepted by Pradeep Chintagunta, marketing.

Suggested Citation

  • Yunchuan Liu & Rajeev K. Tyagi, 2011. "The Benefits of Competitive Upward Channel Decentralization," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(4), pages 741-751, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:4:p:741-751

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anne T. Coughlan & Birger Wernerfelt, 1989. "On Credible Delegation by Oligopolists: A Discussion of Distribution Channel Management," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(2), pages 226-239, February.
    2. S. Sajeesh & Jagmohan S. Raju, 2010. "Positioning and Pricing in a Variety Seeking Market," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(6), pages 949-961, June.
    3. Preyas Desai & Oded Koenigsberg & Devavrat Purohit, 2004. "Strategic Decentralization and Channel Coordination," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 5-22, March.
    4. Timothy W. McGuire & Richard Staelin, 1983. "An Industry Equilibrium Analysis of Downstream Vertical Integration," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 2(2), pages 161-191.
    5. Ganesh Iyer, 1998. "Coordinating Channels Under Price and Nonprice Competition," Marketing Science, INFORMS, pages 338-355.
    6. Anderson, Simon, 1987. "Spatial competition and price leadership," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 369-398.
    7. S. Chan Choi, 1991. "Price Competition in a Channel Structure with a Common Retailer," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 10(4), pages 271-296.
    8. Kai-Uwe Kuhn, 1997. "Nonlinear Pricing in Vertically Related Duopolies," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 37-62, Spring.
    9. J. Miguel Villas-Boas, 1998. "Product Line Design for a Distribution Channel," Marketing Science, INFORMS, pages 156-169.
    10. Gregory S. Carpenter, 1989. "Perceptual Position and Competitive Brand Strategy in a Two-Dimensional, Two-Brand Market," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(9), pages 1029-1044, September.
    11. Dmitri Kuksov, 2004. "Buyer Search Costs and Endogenous Product Design," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(4), pages 490-499, May.
    12. Rajiv Lal, 1990. "Improving Channel Coordination Through Franchising," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 9(4), pages 299-318.
    13. Eitan Gerstner & James D. Hess, 1995. "Pull Promotions and Channel Coordination," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(1), pages 43-60.
    14. Sudheer Gupta & Richard Loulou, 1998. "Process Innovation, Product Differentiation, and Channel Structure: Strategic Incentives in a Duopoly," Marketing Science, INFORMS, pages 301-316.
    15. Lan Luo & P. K. Kannan & Brian T. Ratchford, 2007. "New Product Development Under Channel Acceptance," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(2), pages 149-163, 03-04.
    16. K. Sridhar Moorthy, 1988. "Product and Price Competition in a Duopoly," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 7(2), pages 141-168.
    17. Charles A. Ingene & Mark E. Parry, 1995. "Channel Coordination When Retailers Compete," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(4), pages 360-377.
    18. Liang Guo, 2006. "Consumption Flexibility, Product Configuration, and Market Competition," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(2), pages 116-130, 03-04.
    19. Gérard P. Cachon & Patrick T. Harker, 2002. "Competition and Outsourcing with Scale Economies," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(10), pages 1314-1333, October.
    20. Rajeev K. Tyagi, 2000. "Sequential Product Positioning Under Differential Costs," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(7), pages 928-940, July.
    21. John R. Hauser, 1988. "Note—Competitive Price and Positioning Strategies," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 7(1), pages 76-91.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:annopr:v:240:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s10479-014-1632-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Bian, Junsong & Guo, Xiaolei & Li, Kevin W., 2015. "Distribution channel strategies in a mixed market," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 13-24.
    3. repec:eee:ejores:v:262:y:2017:i:2:p:563-574 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:jomega:v:75:y:2018:i:c:p:118-130 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Qi Feng & Lauren Xiaoyuan Lu, 2012. "The Strategic Perils of Low Cost Outsourcing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(6), pages 1196-1210, June.
    6. Hara, Reiya & Matsubayashi, Nobuo, 2017. "Premium store brand: Product development collaboration between retailers and national brand manufacturers," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 128-138.
    7. Rosar, Frank, 2017. "Strategic outsourcing and optimal procurement," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 91-130.
    8. Kopel, Michael & Löffler, Clemens & Pfeiffer, Thomas, 2016. "Sourcing strategies of a multi-input-multi-product firm," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 30-45.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:4:p:741-751. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.