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Market Structure and the Competitive Effects of Vertical Integration


  • Simon Loertscher
  • Markus Reisinger


We analyze the competitive effects of backward vertical integration in a model with oligopolistic firms that exert market power upstream and downstream. In contrast to previous literature, we show that a small degree of vertical integration is always procompetitive because efficiency effects dominate foreclosure effects. Moreover, vertical integration even to monopoly can be procompetitive. With regard to market structure, we find, somewhat surprisingly, that vertical integration is more likely to be procompetitive if the industry is more concentrated. Our model thus suggests that antitrust authorities should be particularly wary of vertical integration in relatively competitive industries. We demonstrate that the quantitative welfare effects can be substantial there.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Loertscher & Markus Reisinger, 2011. "Market Structure and the Competitive Effects of Vertical Integration," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1136, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1136

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Volker Nocke & Michael D. Whinston, 2010. "Dynamic Merger Review," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1201-1251.
    2. Péter Eső & Volker Nocke & Lucy White, 2010. "Competition for scarce resources," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(3), pages 524-548.
    3. Chen, Yongmin, 2001. "On Vertical Mergers and Their Competitive Effects," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(4), pages 667-685, Winter.
    4. Catherine C. de Fontenay & Joshua S. Gans, 2005. "Vertical Integration in the Presence of Upstream Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(3), pages 544-572, Autumn.
    5. Inderst, Roman & Valletti, Tommaso, 2011. "Incentives for input foreclosure," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 820-831, August.
    6. Volker Nocke & Lucy White, 2007. "Do Vertical Mergers Facilitate Upstream Collusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1321-1339, September.
    7. Francine Lafontaine & Margaret Slade, 2007. "Vertical Integration and Firm Boundaries: The Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 629-685, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Simon Loertscher & Leslie Marx, 2014. "An Oligopoly Model for Analyzing and Evaluating (Re)-Assignments of Spectrum Licenses," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 45(3), pages 245-273, November.
    2. Pouyet, Jérôme & Trégouët, Thomas, 2016. "Vertical Mergers in Platform Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 11703, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item


    Vertical Integration; Market Structure; Downstream Oligopsony; Competitive Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • L42 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Vertical Restraints; Resale Price Maintenance; Quantity Discounts

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