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Exclusive dealing as a barrier to entry? Evidence from automobiles

  • Nurski, Laura
  • Verboven, Frank

Exclusive dealing contracts between manufacturers and retailers force new entrants to set up their own costly dealer networks to enter the market. We ask whether such contracts may act as an entry barrier, and provide an empirical analysis of the European car market. We first estimate a demand model with product and spatial differentiation, and quantify the role of a dense distribution network in explaining the car manufacturers' market shares. We then perform policy counterfactuals to assess the profit incentives and entry-deterring effects of exclusive dealing. We find that there are no individual incentives to maintain exclusive dealing, but there can be a collective incentive by the industry as a whole, even absent efficiencies. Furthermore, a ban on exclusive dealing would shift market shares from the larger European firms to the smaller entrants. More importantly, consumers would gain substantially, mainly because of the increased spatial availability and less so because of intensified price competition. Our findings suggest that the European Commission's recent decision to facilitate exclusive dealing in the car market may not have been warranted.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8762.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8762
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  1. Steven Berry & Joel Waldfogel, 1996. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency in Radio Broadcasting," NBER Working Papers 5528, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Sofia Berto Villas-Boas, 2007. "Vertical Relationships between Manufacturers and Retailers: Inference with Limited Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 625-652.
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  12. Boone, J. & Müller, W. & Suetens, S., 2009. "Naked Exclusion : Towards a Behavioral Approach to Exclusive Dealing," Discussion Paper 2009-30, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  13. John Asker, 2004. "Diagnosing Foreclosure Due to Exclusive Dealing," Working Papers 04-36, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  14. Chiara Fumagalli & Massimo Motta, 2006. "Exclusive Dealing and Entry, when Buyers Compete," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 785-795, June.
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  16. Besanko, David & Perry, Martin K., 1994. "Exclusive dealing in a spatial model of retail competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 297-329, September.
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  18. Peter Davis, 2006. "Spatial competition in retail markets: movie theaters," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 964-982, December.
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