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Do Vertical Mergers Facilitate Upstream Collusion? Second Version

  • Volker Nocke

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Lucy White

    ()

    (Harvard Business School)

We investigate the impact of vertical mergers on upstream firms' ability to sustain tacit collusion in a repeated game. We identify several effects and show that the net effect of vertical integration is to facilitate collusion. Most importantly, vertical mergers facilitate collusion through the operation of an outlets effect: cheating unintegrated firms can no longer profitably sell to the downstream affiliates of their integrated rivals. However, vertical integration also gives rise to an opposing punishment effect: it is typically more difficult to punish an integrated structure, so that integrated firms are able to make more profits in the punishment phase than unintegrated upstream firms. When downstream firms can condition their prices or quantities on upstream firms' contract offers, two additional effects arise, both of which further facilitate upstream collusion. First, an unintegrated upstream firm's deviation profits are reduced by the reaction effect which arises since the downstream unit of the integrated firm will now react aggressively to upstream deviations. Second, an integrated firm's deviation profit is reduced by the lack-of-commitment effect as it cannot commit to its own downstream price when deviating upstream.

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File URL: http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/system/files/working-papers/05-013.pdf
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Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 05-013.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 03 Nov 2003
Date of revision: 08 Mar 2005
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:05-013
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  12. Mailath, George J. & Nocke, Volker & White, Lucy, 2004. "When the Punishment Must Fit the Crime: Remarks on the Failure of Simple Penal Codes in Extensive-Form Games," CEPR Discussion Papers 4793, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  17. Marshall, R.C. & Richard J.F., 1995. "Bider Collusion at Forest Service Timber Sales," Papers 7-95-3, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  18. Friedman, James W, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(113), pages 1-12, January.
  19. 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.
  20. Abreu, Dilip, 1986. "Extremal equilibria of oligopolistic supergames," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 191-225, June.
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  22. Woodruff, Christopher, 2002. "Non-contractible investments and vertical integration in the Mexican footwear industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(8), pages 1197-1224, October.
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  24. Waterman, David & Weiss, Andrew A., 1996. "The effects of vertical integration between cable television systems and pay cable networks," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1-2), pages 357-395.
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