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The Role of Exclusive Territories in Producers' Competition

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  • Patrick Rey
  • Joseph Stiglitz

Abstract

The central objective of this paper is to show how vertical restraints, which affect intra-brand competition, can and will be used as an effective mechanism for reducing inter-brand competition and increasing producer profits. We show how exclusive territories alter the perceived demand curve, making each producer believe he faces a less elastic demand curve, thereby inducing an increase of the equilibrium price. The use of exclusive territories may increase producers' profits, even if the producers cannot charge franchise fees, and so cannot recapture, from the retailers, the monopoly rents they earn from their exclusive territory: we show that 'double marginalization' effects can be overcome by the strategic effect on producers' competition. We provide a model in which we can clearly specify the full range of feasible contracts between producers and retailers, and show that it is always a dominant strategy for firms to use exclusive territories (so that exclusive territories are used in equilibrium) and that the best situation from the producers' viewpoint may or may not entail franchise fees. In all cases, exclusive territories hurt consumer surplus and reduce total welfare, which yields a different light on vertical restraints from a competition policy perspective.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Rey & Joseph Stiglitz, 1994. "The Role of Exclusive Territories in Producers' Competition," NBER Working Papers 4618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4618 Note: IO
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    1. Rey, Patrick & Stiglitz, Joseph, 1988. "Vertical restraints and producers' competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 561-568, March.
    2. Timothy W. McGuire & Richard Staelin, 1983. "An Industry Equilibrium Analysis of Downstream Vertical Integration," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 2(2), pages 161-191.
    3. G.F. Mathewson & R.A. Winter, 1984. "An Economic Theory of Vertical Restraints," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 27-38, Spring.
    4. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
    5. Steven C. Salop, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition with Outside Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 141-156, Spring.
    6. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1985. "Common Marketing Agency as a Device for Facilitating Collusion," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(2), pages 269-281, Summer.
    7. Bonanno, Giacomo & Vickers, John, 1988. "Vertical Separation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 257-265, March.
    8. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Common Agency," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 923-942, July.
    9. Vickers, John, 1985. "Delegation and the Theory of the Firm," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(380a), pages 138-147, Supplemen.
    10. Fershtman, Chaim & Judd, Kenneth L, 1987. "Equilibrium Incentives in Oligopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 927-940, December.
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