IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Colluding through Suppliers



In a dynamic game between N retailers and a large number of suppliers, I show that inefficient contracting emerges as a mechanism to implement collusion among retailers, building on the natural ‘complementarity’ between retail and wholesale prices. When efficient collusion is not sustainable, this complementarity allows retailers to rely on inefficient input supply, entailing double marginalization and negative franchise fees, to squeeze the wedge between collusive and deviation profits. I also study the role of communication on the equilibrium outcomes of games where retailers have the initiative. It turns out that communication is indeed fundamental to strengthen cartels' sustainability, although generating efficiency losses.

Suggested Citation

  • Salvatore Piccolo, 2009. "Colluding through Suppliers," CSEF Working Papers 224, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 08 Apr 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:224

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pagano, Marco & Jappelli, Tullio, 1993. " Information Sharing in Credit Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1693-1718, December.
    2. -, 2005. "Economic survey of the Caribbean 2004-2005," Sede Subregional de la CEPAL para el Caribe (Estudios e Investigaciones) 38825, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    3. Maarten Pieter Schinkel & Jan Tuinstra & Jakob Rüggeberg, 2008. "Illinois Walls: how barring indirect purchaser suits facilitates collusion," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(3), pages 683-698.
    4. Jeanine Miklós‐Thal & Patrick Rey & Thibaud Vergé, 2011. "Buyer Power And Intrabrand Coordination," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 721-741, August.
    5. Francine Lafontaine & Kathryn L. Shaw, 1999. "The Dynamics of Franchise Contracting: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(5), pages 1041-1080, October.
    6. Michael L. Katz, 1991. "Game-Playing Agents: Unobservable Contracts as Precommitments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 307-328, Autumn.
    7. מחקר - ביטוח לאומי, 2005. "Annual Survey 2004," Working Papers 16, National Insurance Institute of Israel.
    8. Vega-Redondo,Fernando, 2003. "Economics and the Theory of Games," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521775908, March.
    9. Kai-Uwe Kuhn, 1997. "Nonlinear Pricing in Vertically Related Duopolies," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 37-62, Spring.
    10. Benjamin F. Blair & Tracy R. Lewis, 1994. "Optimal Retail Contracts with Asymmetric Information and Moral Hazard," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 284-296, Summer.
    11. Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, B & Picard, P, 1995. "Competing Vertical Structures: Precommitment and Renegotiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(3), pages 621-646, May.
    12. David Martimort, 1996. "Exclusive Dealing, Common Agency, and Multiprincipals Incentive Theory," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 1-19, Spring.
    13. Bruno Jullien & Patrick Rey, 2007. "Resale price maintenance and collusion," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(4), pages 983-1001, December.
    14. Gal-Or, Esther, 1991. "Vertical Restraints with Incomplete Information," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(5), pages 503-516, September.
    15. Volker Nocke & Lucy White, 2007. "Do Vertical Mergers Facilitate Upstream Collusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1321-1339, September.
    16. Raith, Michael, 1996. "A General Model of Information Sharing in Oligopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 260-288, October.
    17. Patrick Rey & Joseph Stiglitz, 1995. "The Role of Exclusive Territories in Producers' Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(3), pages 431-451, Autumn.
    18. repec:mpr:mprres:4946 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Greg Shaffer, 1991. "Slotting Allowances and Resale Price Maintenance: A Comparison of Facilitating Practices," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(1), pages 120-135, Spring.
    20. Esther Gal-Or, 1991. "A Common Agency with Incomplete Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(2), pages 274-286, Summer.
    21. anonymous, 2005. "Basel II survey documents finalized," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Win, pages 1-40.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Nocke, Volker & Rey, Patrick, 2014. "Exclusive Dealing and Vertical Integration in Interlocking Relationships," TSE Working Papers 14-515, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Jul 2017.
    2. repec:eee:indorg:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:353-370 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Øystein Foros & Hans Jarle Kind, 2017. "Upstream Partnerships among Competitors when Size Matters," CESifo Working Paper Series 6512, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Sahuguet, Nicolas & Walckiers, Alexis, 2013. "Selling to a cartel of retailers: a model of hub-and-spoke collusion," CEPR Discussion Papers 9385, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Reisinger, Markus & Thomes, Tim Paul, 2017. "Manufacturer collusion: Strategic implications of the channel structure," DICE Discussion Papers 261, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    6. repec:eee:indorg:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:99-113 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Chris Doyle & Martijn Han, 2014. "Cartelization Through Buyer Groups," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 44(3), pages 255-275, May.
    8. Normann, Hans-Theo & Rösch, Jürgen & Schultz, Luis Manuel, 2015. "Do buyer groups facilitate collusion?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 72-84.
    9. Normann, Hans-Theo & Rösch, Jürgen & Schultz, Luis Manuel, 2014. "Do buyer groups facilitate collusion?," DICE Discussion Papers 74 [rev.], University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    10. Teichmann, Isabel & von Schlippenbach, Vanessa, 2015. "Collusive effects of a monopolist's use of an intermediary to deliver to retailers," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112948, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Cheng-Feng Cheng, 2012. "Evaluate the Effectiveness of Manager Compensation," International Journal of Business and Economics, College of Business and College of Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, vol. 11(1), pages 25-44, June.
    12. Salvatore Piccolo & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2014. "Debt, Managers and Cartels," CSEF Working Papers 365, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    13. Chris Doyle & Martijn A. Han, 2012. "Cartelization Through Buyer Groups," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2012-059, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    14. Biancini, Sara & Ettinger, David, 2017. "Vertical integration and downstream collusion," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 99-113.
    15. S. Bolatto & L. Lambertini, 2017. "Collusive Vertical Relations," Working Papers wp1103, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    16. Chrysovalantou Milliou & Apostolis Pavlou, 2014. "Foreign Direct Investment Modes and Local Backward Linkages," CESifo Working Paper Series 4623, CESifo Group Munich.
    17. Isabel Teichmann & Vanessa von Schlippenbach, 2014. "Collusive Effects of a Monopolist's Use of an Intermediary to Deliver to Retailers," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1440, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item


    Bertrand competition; double marginalization; collusion; competing hierarchies.;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L42 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Vertical Restraints; Resale Price Maintenance; Quantity Discounts

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:224. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lia Ambrosio). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.