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Vertical Contracting When Competition for Orders Precedes Procurement


  • Joshua S Gans


This paper reverses the standard order between input supply negotiations and downstream competition and assumes that competition for orders takes place prior to procurement of inputs in a vertical chain. In an environment where procurement negotiations involve no private information and no restrictions on the form of pricing, it is found that oligopolistically competitive outcomes will result despite the presence of an upstream monopolist. It is demonstrated that vertical integration is a means by which the monopolist can leverage its market power downstream to the detriment of consumers. However, it does so, not by foreclosing on independent downstream firms, but by softening the competitive behaviour of its own integrated units. Thus, the paper provides a simple rationale for anti-competitive vertical integration in an environment that respects the usual Chicago school assumptions

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua S Gans, 2004. "Vertical Contracting When Competition for Orders Precedes Procurement," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 123, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:ausm04:123

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephen W. Salant & Sheldon Switzer & Robert J. Reynolds, 1983. "Losses From Horizontal Merger: The Effects of an Exogenous Change in Industry Structure on Cournot-Nash Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(2), pages 185-199.
    2. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1984. "The Fat-Cat Effect, the Puppy-Dog Ploy, and the Lean and Hungry Look," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 361-366, May.
    3. Chen, Yongmin, 2001. "On Vertical Mergers and Their Competitive Effects," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(4), pages 667-685, Winter.
    4. Ordover, Janusz A & Saloner, Garth & Salop, Steven C, 1990. "Equilibrium Vertical Foreclosure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 127-142, March.
    5. Stahl, Dale O, II, 1988. "Bertrand Competition for Inputs and Walrasian Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 189-201, March.
    6. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1987. "Contracts as a Barrier to Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 388-401, June.
    7. Ilya Segal, 1999. "Contracting with Externalities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 337-388.
    8. Hart, O. & Tirole, J., 1990. "Vertical Integration And Market Foreclosure," Working papers 548, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    9. Xavier Vives, 2001. "Oligopoly Pricing: Old Ideas and New Tools," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026272040x, July.
    10. McAfee, R Preston & Schwartz, Marius, 1994. "Opportunism in Multilateral Vertical Contracting: Nondiscrimination, Exclusivity, and Uniformity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 210-230, March.
    11. Michael Waterson, 1980. "Price-Cost Margins and Successive Market Power," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(1), pages 135-150.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. James Bushnell, 2007. "Oligopoly equilibria in electricity contract markets," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 225-245, December.

    More about this item


    vertical contracting; vertical integration; monopolisation; bargaining; competition;

    JEL classification:

    • L42 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Vertical Restraints; Resale Price Maintenance; Quantity Discounts

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