Selective Contracts, Foreclosure, and the Chicago School View
I examine a mechanism by which exclusive supply contracts may inefficiently deter entry into the market. In the model, the incumbent supplier selectively offers contracts only to some buyers and convinces them to consent by guaranteeing them low prices. The contracts strengthen the monopoly position of the incumbent supplier and allow it to extract rents from the remaining buyers that were not offered contracts. Aside from the favorable contract terms, buyers have another reason to consent to the exclusivity scheme: the latter raises the input costs of rival buyers that were not offered contracts. The model has potential applications to the recent Microsoft antitrust case (1994). I define exclusive supply contract as an agreement under which an upstream firm becomes the exclusive supplier of a downstream firm; the downstream firm is prohibited from buying from other suppliers. Copyright 1998 by the University of Chicago.
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