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Vertical bargaining and countervailing power

  • Valletti, T
  • Iozzi, A

We study the existence of countervailing buyer power in a vertical industry where the input price is set via Nash bargainings between one upstream supplier and many differentiated but competing retailers. In case one bilateral bargaining fails, the supplier still has the ability to sell to the other retailers. We show that the capacity of these other retailers to react in the final market has a dramatic impact on the supplier’s outside options and, ultimately, on input prices and welfare. Under downstream quantity competition, we find either no or opposite support to the hypothesis of countervailing power on input prices, as the retail industry becomes more concentrated. With price competition, we find a case for countervailing power, but its existence depends on the degree of product differentiation and on the ability of competing retailers to react to a disagreement.

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Paper provided by Imperial College, London, Imperial College Business School in its series Working Papers with number 5958.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2014
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Handle: RePEc:imp:wpaper:5958
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  1. Rey, Patrick & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "A Primer on Foreclosure," IDEI Working Papers 203, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Nov 2005.
  2. Jonas Björnerstedt & Johan Stennek, 2001. "Bilateral Oligopoly," CIG Working Papers FS IV 01-08, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  3. 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 210-30, March.
  4. Lopez, Monica Correa & Naylor, Robin A., 2004. "The Cournot-Bertrand profit differential: A reversal result in a differentiated duopoly with wage bargaining," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 681-696, June.
  5. Inderst, Roman & Wey, Christian, 2001. "Bargaining, Mergers and Technology Choice in Bilaterally Oligopolistic Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 2981, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. Crawford, Gregory S & Yurukoglu, Ali, 2011. "The Welfare Effects of Bundling in Multichannel Television Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 8370, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Hackner, Jonas, 2000. "A Note on Price and Quantity Competition in Differentiated Oligopolies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 233-239, August.
  9. Milliou, Chrysovalantou & Petrakis, Emmanuel, 2007. "Upstream horizontal mergers, vertical contracts, and bargaining," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 963-987, October.
  10. Mónica Correa-López, 2007. "Price and Quantity Competition in a Differentiated Duopoly with Upstream Suppliers," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(2), pages 469-505, 06.
  11. George Symeonidis, 2008. "Downstream Competition, Bargaining, and Welfare," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 247-270, 03.
  12. Robert C. Marshall & Antonio Merlo, 2004. "Pattern Bargaining," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(1), pages 239-255, 02.
  13. Horn, H. & Wolinsky, A., 1988. "Bilateral Monopolies And Incentives For Merger," Papers 410, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  14. Dowrick, Steve, 1989. "Union-Oligopoly Bargaining," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(398), pages 1123-42, December.
  15. Roman Inderst & Tommaso Valletti, 2009. "Price discrimination in input markets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(1), pages 1-19.
  16. Esther Gal-Or & Anthony Dukes, 2006. "On the Profitability of Media Mergers," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(2), pages 489-526, March.
  17. Zhiqi Chen, 2001. "Dominant Retailers and the Countervailing Power Hypothesis," Carleton Economic Papers 01-05, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 2003.
  18. Naylor, Robin A., 2002. "Industry profits and competition under bilateral oligopoly," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 169-175, October.
  19. Dobson, Paul W. & Waterson, Michael, 2007. "The competition effects of industry-wide vertical price fixing in bilateral oligopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 935-962, October.
  20. von Ungern-Sternberg, Thomas, 1996. "Countervailing power revisited," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 507-519, June.
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