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On the Timing of Vertical Relationships

  • Ruble, Richard
  • Versaevel, Bruno
  • de Villemeur, Étienne

We show that the standard analysis of vertical relationships transposes directly to investment timing. Thus, when a firm undertaking a project requires an outside supplier (e.g. an equipment manufacturer) to provide it with a discrete input, and if the supplier has market power, investment occurs too late from an industry standpoint. The distortion in firm decisions is characterized by a Lerner index, which is related to the parameters of a stochastic downstream demand. When feasible, vertical restraints restore efficiency. For instance, the upstream firm can induce entry at the correct investment threshold by selling a call option on the input. Otherwise, competition may substitute for vertical restraints. In particular, if two firms are engaged in a preemption race downstream, the upstream firm sells the input to the first investor at a discount that is chosen in such a way that the race to preempt exactly offsets the vertical externality, and this leader invests at the optimal market threshold.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 627.

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Date of creation: 23 Jun 2010
Date of revision: 11 Apr 2011
Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:22883
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  1. Mason, Robin & Weeds, Helen, 2010. "Investment, uncertainty and pre-emption," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 278-287, May.
  2. Leahy, John V, 1993. "Investment in Competitive Equilibrium: The Optimality of Myopic Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 1105-33, November.
  3. Thijssen, Jacco J.J. & Huisman, Kuno J.M. & Kort, Peter M., 2012. "Symmetric equilibrium strategies in game theoretic real option models," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 219-225.
  4. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 5474, January.
  5. Grenadier, Steven R, 1996. " The Strategic Exercise of Options: Development Cascades and Overbuilding in Real Estate Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(5), pages 1653-79, December.
  6. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, June.
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