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Buyer Power and Quality Improvement

  • Pierpaolo Battigalli
  • Chiara Fumagalli
  • Michele Polo

This paper analyses the sources of buyer power and its effect on sellers' investment. We show that a retailer extracts a larger surplus from the negotiation with an upstream manufacturer the more it is essential to the creation of total surplus. In turn, this depends on the rivalry between retailers in the bargaining process. Rivalry increases when the retail market is more fragmented, when the retailers are less differentiated and when decreasing returns to scale in production are larger. The allocation of total surplus a¤ects also the incentives of producers to invest in product quality, an instance of the hold up problem. This not only makes both the supplier and consumers worse o¤, but it may harm also the retailers.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 310.

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Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:310
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  1. Alexander Raskovich, 2003. "Pivotal Buyers and Bargaining Position," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(4), pages 405-426, December.
  2. Inderst, Roman & Shaffer, Greg, 2004. "Retail Mergers: Buyer Power and Product Variety," CEPR Discussion Papers 4236, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
  4. João VIEIRA-MONTEZ, 2004. "Downstream Concentration and Producer's Capacity Choice," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 04.13, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  5. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1993. "Protection for Sale," CEPR Discussion Papers 827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Patrick Rey & Jeanine Thal & Thibaud Vergé, 2006. "Slotting Allowances and Conditional Payments," Working Papers 2006-23, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  7. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Chiara Fumagalli & Michele Polo, 2006. "Buyer Power and Quality Improvement," Working Papers 310, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. Inderst, Roman & Wey, Christian, 2002. "Buyer Power and Supplier Incentives," CEPR Discussion Papers 3547, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
  12. Villas-Boas, Sofia B., 2006. "Vertical relationships between manufacturers and retailers: inference with limited data," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt0z26d2v9, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  13. Sara Fisher Ellison & Christopher M. Snyder, 2010. "COUNTERVAILING POWER IN WHOLESALE PHARMACEUTICALS -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 32-53, 03.
  14. Chen, Zhiqi, 2003. " Dominant Retailers and the Countervailing-Power Hypothesis," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(4), pages 612-25, Winter.
  15. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-61, October.
  17. Zhiqi Chen, 2004. "Monopoly and Product Diversity: The Role of Retailer Countervailing Power," Carleton Economic Papers 04-19, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
  18. Roman Inderst & Christian Wey, 2005. "How Strong Buyers Spur Upstream Innovation," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 524, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  19. Bergemann, Dirk & Valimaki, Juuso, 2003. "Dynamic common agency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 111(1), pages 23-48, July.
  20. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Giovanni Maggi, 2003. "Costly Contracting in a Long-Term Relationship," Working Papers 249, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  21. Lustgarten, Steven H, 1975. "The Impact of Buyer Concentration in Manufacturing Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(2), pages 125-32, May.
  22. Chiara Fumagalli & Massimo Motta, 2006. "Buyers’ miscoordination, entry, and downstream competition," CSEF Working Papers 152, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  23. Katz, Michael L, 1987. "The Welfare Effects of Third-Degree Price Discrimination in," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 154-67, March.
  24. von Ungern-Sternberg, Thomas, 1996. "Countervailing power revisited," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 507-519, June.
  25. Bernheim, B.D., 1992. "Exclusive Dealing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1622, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  26. Dobson, Paul W & Waterson, Michael, 1997. "Countervailing Power and Consumer Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 418-30, March.
  27. Paul Dobson & Michael Waterson, 1999. "Retailer power: recent developments and policy implications," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 14(28), pages 133-164, 04.
  28. Henrick Horn & Asher Wolinsky, 1988. "Bilateral Monopolies and Incentives for Merger," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 408-419, Autumn.
  29. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:101:y:1986:i:1:p:1-31 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. Farber, Stephen C, 1981. "Buyer Market Structure and R&D Effort: A Simultaneous Equations Model," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(3), pages 336-45, August.
  31. Tyagi, Rajeev K, 2001. "Why Do Suppliers Charge Larger Buyers Lower Prices?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 45-61, March.
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