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Legal Unbundling can be a Golden Mean between Vertical Integration and Separation

  • Felix Höffler
  • Sebastian Kranz

    ()

We study an industry in which an upstream monopolist supplies an essential input at a regulated price to several downstream firms. Legal unbundling means that a downstream firm owns the upstream firm but this upstream firm is legally independent and maximizes its own upstream profits. We allow for non-tariff discrimination by the upstream firm and show that under quite general conditions legal unbundling yields (weakly) higher quantities in the downstream market than vertical separation and integration. Therefore, typically consumer surplus will be largest under legal unbundling. Outcomes under legal unbundling are still advantageous when we allow for discriminatory capacity investments, investments into marginal cost reduction and investments into network reliability. If access prices are unregulated, however, legal unbundling may be quite undesirable.

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File URL: http://www.wiwi.uni-bonn.de/bgsepapers/bonedp/bgse15_2007.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Bonn Econ Discussion Papers with number bgse15_2007.

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Length: 35
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse15_2007
Contact details of provider: Postal: Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Fax: +49 228 73 6884
Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

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  1. Konrad, Kai A., 2002. "Investment in the absence of property rights; the role of incumbency advantages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1521-1537, September.
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  7. Inderst, Roman & Müller, Holger M. & Wärneryd, Karl, 2000. "Influence Costs and Hierarchy," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 392, Stockholm School of Economics.
  8. Muller, Holger M & Warneryd, Karl, 2001. "Inside versus Outside Ownership: A Political Theory of the Firm," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 527-41, Autumn.
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