Oligopoly Pricing with Differentiated Products: The Boston Fluid Milk Market Channel
We model Boston fluid milk market after taking into account strategic interactions of the processors and retailers and estimate it using monthly propriety retail scanner data and other data from public sources from 1996 to 2000. Market demand is modeled using flexible nested logit demand system and processor level cost is modeled using flexible generalized Leontief cost function. Our modeled is flexible enough to capture the nature of competition between brands within store and across stores. We find that the brands compete much more vigorously within store and than across stores. This structure of competition fits squarely with Slade's (1995) assumption on retail competition. We also explore strategic implications of the North East Dairy Compact on retailers and processors using emerging methodologies of antitrust simulation. The predictions from the antitrust simulation analysis are consistent with the concept of "focal point pricing" at the Compact implementation, suggesting an increase of market power in the fluid milk marketing channel. Our estimated brand level total channel price cost margins also show that the margins increased after the Compact implementation.
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