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Deconstructing Chicago on Exclusive Dealing


  • Farrell, Joseph


While exclusive dealing can be efficient, the Chicago School has also argued that it cannot be anticompetitive, or that it seldom is. That argument takes two forms; both are weak. First, a price-theory argument (“the Chicago Three-Party Argument†) depends crucially on a special model of oligopoly and predicts that we will never see what we see. I show how simply replacing the embedded oligopoly model suggests new efficiency and anticompetitive motives for exclusive dealing; these motives differ markedly from those usually discussed. Second, “the Chicago Vertical Question†is a challenge to theories of anticompetitive vertical practices, including exclusive dealing. While that Question is salutary and helpful, its apparent force dissipates if we pay careful attention to externalities, as others have noted, and to the issue of alternatives versus benchmarks, as I describe below. Overall, economic logic does not support any general presumption that exclusive dealing is efficient.

Suggested Citation

  • Farrell, Joseph, 2005. "Deconstructing Chicago on Exclusive Dealing," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt9wv3k43c, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:compol:qt9wv3k43c

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 505-540.
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    4. Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 15-25, 01-02.
    5. Michael D. Smith & Erik Brynjolfsson, 2001. "Consumer Decision-making at an Internet Shopbot: Brand Still Matters," NBER Chapters,in: E-commerce, pages 541-558 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fumagalli, Chiara & Motta, Massimo & Persson, Lars, 2005. "Exclusive Dealing, Entry and Mergers," CEPR Discussion Papers 4902, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Kaplow, Louis & Shapiro, Carl, 2007. "Antitrust," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
    3. Kitamura, Hiroshi & Matsushima, Noriaki & Sato, Misato, 2018. "Exclusive contracts with complementary inputs," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 145-167.
    4. Fumagalli, Chiara & Motta, Massimo & Persson, Lars, 2007. "On the Anticompetitive Effect of Exclusive Dealing when Entry by Merger is Possible," Working Paper Series 718, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    5. Kitamura, Hiroshi & Matsushima, Noriaki & Sato, Misato, 2017. "Exclusive contracts and bargaining power," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 1-3.
    6. Dongyeol Lee, 2015. "The Competitive Effect of Exclusive Dealing in the Presence of Renegotiation Breakdown," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 47(1), pages 25-50, August.

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