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Cartelization Through Buyer Groups

  • Chris Doyle
  • Martijn A. Han
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    Retailers may enjoy stable cartel rents in their output market through the formation of a buyer group in their input market. A buyer group allows retailers to credibly commit to increased input prices, which serve to reduce combined final output to the monopoly level; increased input costs are then refunded from suppliers to retailers through slotting allowances or rebates. The stability of such an “implied cartel†depends on the retailers’ incentives to secretly source from a supplier outside of the buyer group arrangement at lower input prices. Cheating is limited if retailers sign exclusive dealing or minimum purchase provisions. We discuss the relevancy of our findings for antitrust policy.

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    Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2012-059.

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    Length: 24 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2012-059
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    1. Marvel, Howard P. & Yang, Huanxing, 2008. "Group purchasing, nonlinear tariffs, and oligopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 1090-1105, September.
    2. Øystein Foros & Hans Jarle Kind & Jan Yngve Sand, 2009. "Slotting Allowances and Manufacturers’ Retail Sales Effort," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 266-282, July.
    3. Roman Inderst & Christian Wey, 2003. "Buyer Power and Supplier Incentives," CIG Working Papers SP II 2003-05, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    4. Salvatore Piccolo, 2009. "Colluding through Suppliers," CSEF Working Papers 224, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 08 Apr 2010.
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    7. Bernheim, B.D., 1992. "Exclusive Dealing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1622, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    8. Dobson, Paul W & Waterson, Michael, 1997. "Countervailing Power and Consumer Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 418-30, March.
    9. Blair,Roger D. & Lafontaine,Francine, 2005. "The Economics of Franchising," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521772525.
    10. Daniel P. O'Brien & Greg Shaffer, 1992. "Vertical Control with Bilateral Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(3), pages 299-308, Autumn.
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    13. Katz, Michael L., 1991. "Game-Playing Agents: Unobservable Contracts as Precommitments," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt79b870w0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    14. Roman Inderst & Tommaso M. Valletti, 2011. "Buyer Power And The ‘Waterbed Effect’," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 1-20, 03.
    15. Suchan Chae & Paul Heidhues, 2003. "Buyers’ Alliances for Bargaining Power," CIG Working Papers SP II 2003-24, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    16. Irmen, Andreas, 1998. " Precommitment in Competing Vertical Chains," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(4), pages 333-59, September.
    17. Abito, Jose Miguel & Wright, Julian, 2008. "Exclusive dealing with imperfect downstream competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 227-246, January.
    18. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1987. "Contracts as a Barrier to Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 388-401, June.
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