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A Price Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration

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  • Patrick Legros
  • Andrew F. Newman

Abstract

This article presents a perfectly competitive model of firm boundary decisions and study their interplay with product demand, technology, and welfare. Integration is privately costly but is effective at coordinating production decisions; nonintegration is less costly but coordinates relatively poorly. Output price influences the choice of ownership structure: integration increases with the price level. At the same time, ownership affects output, because integration is more productive than nonintegration. For a generic set of demand functions, equilibrium delivers heterogeneity of ownership and performance among ex ante identical enterprises. The price mechanism transmutes demand shifts into industry-wide reorganizations and generates external effects from technological shocks: productivity changes in some firms may induce ownership changes in others. If the enterprise managers have full title to its revenues, market equilibrium ownership structures are second-best efficient. When managers have less than full revenue claims, equilibrium can be inefficient, with too little integration. JEL Codes: D21, D23, D41, L11, L14, L22. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2013. "A Price Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 725-770.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:128:y:2013:i:2:p:725-770
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qjs075
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Hansman & Jonas Hjort & Gianmarco León & Matthieu Teachout, 2017. "Vertical Integration, Supplier Behavior, and Quality Upgrading among Exporters," NBER Working Papers 23949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Simone Moriconi, 2012. "Taxation and Incomplete Contracts," CREA Discussion Paper Series 12-08, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    3. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Kukharskyy, Bohdan & Roland, Gérard, 2015. "Culture and Global Sourcing," CEPR Discussion Papers 10620, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Conconi, Paola & Legros, Patrick & Newman, Andrew F., 2012. "Trade liberalization and organizational change," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 197-208.
    5. Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2014. "Contracts, Ownership, and Industrial Organization: Past and Future," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(suppl_1), pages 82-117.
    6. Andrew F. Newman & Patrick Legros, 2011. "Incomplete Contracts and Industrial Organization: A Survey," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-036, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    7. Roman Fossati, 2011. "Outsourcing versus Vertical Integration: A Dynamic Model of Industry Equilibrium," 2011 Meeting Papers 1421, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Alfaro, Laura & Conconi, Paola & Fadinger, Harald & Newman, Andrew, 2010. "Trade Policy and Firm Boundaries," CEPR Discussion Papers 7899, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Serfes, Konstantinos, 2013. "A Price Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration under Two-Sided Productivity Heterogeneity," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2013-6, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University, revised 06 Mar 2014.
    10. Yong-Bo Wang & Jin-Ray Lu, 2016. "A Supply-Lock Competitive Market for Investable Products," Asian Development Policy Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 4(4), pages 127-133, December.
    11. Ursino Giovanni, 2015. "Supply Chain Control: A Theory of Vertical Integration," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(4), pages 1831-1866, October.
    12. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Legros, Patrick & Zingales, Luigi (ed.), 2016. "The Impact of Incomplete Contracts on Economics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199826216.
    13. Legros, Patrick & Newman, Andrew F., 2017. "Demand-driven integration and divorcement policy," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 306-325.
    14. repec:hrv:faseco:34330170 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D41 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Perfect Competition
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law

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