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Vertical integration and product differentiation


  • Arijit Mukherjee


  • Piercarlo Zanchettin



We study horizontal product differentiation as a strategic decision of downstream firms facing a threat of vertical integration and market foreclosure by an upstream monopolist. We model product differentiation either as pure market segmentation or as generating positive value to consumers. Because of the threat of vertical integration, the downstream firms prefer more differentiation when the latter merely yields the anticompetitive effects of market segmentation, while they may prefer less differentiation when the latter would generate additional social value. Therefore, instead of market foreclosure, we indicate market segmentation or under-investment in socially valuable activities, such as product innovation, design, and informative advertising, as possible social costs of a lenient antitrust policy towards vertical mergers.

Suggested Citation

  • Arijit Mukherjee & Piercarlo Zanchettin, 2012. "Vertical integration and product differentiation," Discussion Papers in Economics 12/17, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, revised Sep 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:12/17

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Economides, Nicholas, 1999. "Quality choice and vertical integration," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 903-914, August.
    2. Lynne Pepall & George Norman, 2001. "Product Differentiation and Upstream-Downstream Relations," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(2), pages 201-233, June.
    3. Allain, Marie-Laure & Chambolle, Claire & Rey, Patrick, 2011. "Vertical Integration, Information and Foreclosure," IDEI Working Papers 673, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Nov 2011.
    4. Stefanadis, Christodoulos, 1997. "Downstream Vertical Foreclosure and Upstream Innovation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 445-456, December.
    5. Chen, Yongmin, 2001. "On Vertical Mergers and Their Competitive Effects," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(4), pages 667-685, Winter.
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    7. Ordover, Janusz A & Saloner, Garth & Salop, Steven C, 1990. "Equilibrium Vertical Foreclosure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 127-142, March.
    8. Michael A. Salinger, 1988. "Vertical Mergers and Market Foreclosure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(2), pages 345-356.
    9. Brocas, Isabelle, 2003. "Vertical integration and incentives to innovate," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 457-488, April.
    10. Noriaki Matsushima, 2009. "VERTICAL MERGERS AND PRODUCT DIFFERENTIATION -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 812-834, December.
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    12. Colangelo, Giuseppe, 1995. "Vertical vs. Horizontal Integration: Pre-emptive Merging," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(3), pages 323-337, September.
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    14. Paul Belleflamme & Eric Toulemonde, 2003. "Product differentiation in successive vertical oligopolies," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(3), pages 523-545, August.
    15. Hart, O. & Tirole, J., 1990. "Vertical Integration And Market Foreclosure," Working papers 548, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    16. Arya, Anil & Mittendorf, Brian & Sappington, David E.M., 2008. "Outsourcing, vertical integration, and price vs. quantity competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-16, January.
    17. Milliou, Chrysovalantou, 2004. "Vertical integration and R&D information flow: is there a need for 'firewalls'?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 25-43, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gelves, J. Alejandro & Heywood, John S., 2016. "Pre-emptive mergers and downstream cost asymmetry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 23-26.

    More about this item


    Vertical integration; product differentiation; market foreclosure; market segmentation.;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L42 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Vertical Restraints; Resale Price Maintenance; Quantity Discounts

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