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Merger Efficiency and Welfare Implications of Buyer Power

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  • Özlem Bedre-Defolie
  • Stéphane Caprice

Abstract

This paper analyzes the welfare implications of buyer mergers, which are mergers between downstream firms from different markets. We focus on the interaction between the merger's effects on downstream efficiency and on buyer power in a setup where one manufacturer with a non-linear cost function sells to two locally competitive retail markets. We show that size discounts for the merged entity has no impact on consumer prices or on smaller retailers, unless the merger affects the downstream efficiency of the merging parties. When the upstream cost function is convex, we find that there are "waterbed effects", that is, each small retailer pays a higher average tariff if a buyer merger improves downstream efficiency. We obtain the opposite results, "anti-waterbed effects", if the merger is inefficient. When the cost function is concave, there are only anti-waterbed effects. In each retail market, the merger decreases the final price if and only if it improves the efficiency of the merging parties, regardless of its impact on the average tariff of small retailers.

Suggested Citation

  • Özlem Bedre-Defolie & Stéphane Caprice, 2011. "Merger Efficiency and Welfare Implications of Buyer Power," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1144, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1144
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Inderst, Roman & Wey, Christian, 2007. "Buyer power and supplier incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 647-667, April.
    2. Smith, Howard & Thanassoulis, John, 2012. "Upstream uncertainty and countervailing power," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 483-495.
    3. Allain, Marie-Laure & Chambolle, Claire, 2011. "Anti-competitive effects of resale-below-cost laws," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 373-385, July.
    4. 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.
    5. Farrell, Joseph & Shapiro, Carl, 1990. "Horizontal Mergers: An Equilibrium Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 107-126, March.
    6. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 1994. "The firm as a communication network," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9595, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    7. Roberto A. Weber & Colin F. Camerer, 2003. "Cultural Conflict and Merger Failure: An Experimental Approach," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 400-415, April.
    8. Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Fumagalli, Chiara & Polo, Michele, 2007. "Buyer power and quality improvements," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 45-61, June.
    9. repec:ccp:journl:v:1:y:2001:i:3:p:247-281 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Céline Bonnet & Pierre Dubois, 2010. "Inference on vertical contracts between manufacturers and retailers allowing for nonlinear pricing and resale price maintenance," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(1), pages 139-164.
    11. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 1994. "The Firm as a Communication Network," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 809-839.
    12. Roman Inderst & Tommaso M. Valletti, 2011. "Buyer Power And The ‘Waterbed Effect’," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 1-20, March.
    13. Tasneem Chipty & Christopher M. Snyder, 1999. "The Role Of Firm Size In Bilateral Bargaining: A Study Of The Cable Television Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 326-340, May.
    14. Paul Dobson & Roger Clarke & Stephen Davies & Michael Waterson, 2001. "Buyer Power and its Impact on Competition in the Food Retail Distribution Sector of the European Union," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 247-281, September.
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    16. Stéphane Caprice & Vanessa von Schlippenbach, 2008. "Competition Policy and Concentration of a Globalized Retail Industry," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 54(3), pages 183-202.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stéphane Caprice & Patrick Rey, 2015. "Buyer Power from Joint Listing Decision," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(589), pages 1677-1704, December.
    2. Smith, Howard & Thanassoulis, John, 2012. "Upstream uncertainty and countervailing power," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 483-495.
    3. Bjørn Olav Johansen & Tore Nilssen, 2016. "The Economics of Retailing Formats: Competition Versus Bargaining," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(1), pages 109-134, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Buyer mergers; non-linear supply contracts; merger efficiencies; size discounts; waterbed effects;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L42 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Vertical Restraints; Resale Price Maintenance; Quantity Discounts

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