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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. Salvatore Piccolo & Jeanine Miklós-Thal, 2012. "Colluding through suppliers," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(3), pages 492-513, 09.
    2. Michael L. Katz, 1991. "Game-Playing Agents: Unobservable Contracts as Precommitments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 307-328, Autumn.
    3. Dobson, Paul W & Waterson, Michael, 1997. "Countervailing Power and Consumer Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 418-30, March.
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    7. Leslie M. Marx & Greg Shaffer, 2007. "Upfront payments and exclusion in downstream markets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(3), pages 823-843, 09.
    8. Roman Inderst & Christian Wey, 2001. "Bargaining, Mergers, and Technology Choice in Bilaterally Oligopolistic Industries," CIG Working Papers FS IV 01-19, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    9. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1998. "Exclusive Dealing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 64-103, February.
    10. 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.
    11. Oystein Foros & Hans Jarle Kind & Jan Yngve Sand, 2008. "Slotting Allowances and Manufacturers’ Retail Sales Effort," CESifo Working Paper Series 2396, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Suchan Chae & Paul Heidhues, 2004. "Buyers' Alliances for Bargaining Power," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 731-754, December.
    13. 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.
    14. Chen, Zhiqi & Ross, Thomas W., 2003. "Cooperating upstream while competing downstream: a theory of input joint ventures," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 381-397, March.
    15. Blair,Roger D. & Lafontaine,Francine, 2005. "The Economics of Franchising," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521772525.
    16. Oystein Foros & Hans Jarle Kind, 2006. "Do Slotting Allowances Harm Retail Competition?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1800, CESifo Group Munich.
    17. Snyder, Christopher M., 1998. "Why do larger buyers pay lower prices? Intense supplier competition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 205-209, February.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
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