Strategic Inventory and Supply Chain Behavior
Based on a serial supply chain model with 2-periods and price-sensitive demand, we present the first experimental test of the effect of strategic inventories on supply chain performance. In theory, if holding costs are low enough, the buyer builds up a strategic inventory (even if no operational reasons for stock-holding exist) to limit the supplier's market power, to increase the own profit share, and to enhance the overall supply chain performance. The supplier anticipates the effect of the strategic inventory and differentiates prices to capture a part of the increased supply chain profits. Our results show that the positive effects of strategic inventories are even more pronounced than theoretically predicted, because strategic inventories empower buyers to reduce payoff inequalities and suppliers exhibit a willingness to reduce inequalities as long as their payoff remains above a certain threshold. Overall, strategic inventories have a double positive effect, a strategic and a behavioral, both reducing the average wholesale prices and damping the double marginalization effect and the latter leading to more equitable payoffs.
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