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A Simple Theory of Predation

  • Chiara Fumagalli


    (UniversitĂ  Luigi Bocconi, CSEF and CEPR)

  • Massimo Motta


    (ICREA-Universitat Pompeu Fabra and BarcelonaGSE)

We propose a simple theory of predatory pricing, based on incumbency advantages, scale economies and sequential buyers (or markets). The prey needs to reach a critical scale to be successful. The incumbent (or predator) has an initial advantage and is ready to make losses on earlier buyers so as to deprive the prey of the scale the latter needs, thus making monopoly profits on later buyers. Several extensions are considered, including cases where scale economies exist because of demand externalities or two-sided market effects, and where markets are characterized by common costs. Conditions under which predation may take place in actual cases are also discussed.

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 255.

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Date of creation: 03 Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published with the title 'A Simple Theory of Predation', The Journal of Law and Economics, 56, 595-631, 2013.
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:255
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  1. Chiara Fumagalli & Massimo Motta, 2008. "Buyers' Miscoordination, Entry and Downstream Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(531), pages 1196-1222, 08.
  2. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1980. "Predation, Reputation, and Entry Deterrence," Discussion Papers 427, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Gans, Joshua S. & King, Stephen P., 2002. "Exclusionary contracts and competition for large buyers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(9), pages 1363-1381, November.
  4. Liliane Karlinger & Massimo Motta, 2007. "Exclusionary Pricing and Rebates When Scale Matters," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/30, European University Institute.
  5. Kreps, David M. & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Reputation and imperfect information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 253-279, August.
  6. Bolton, Patrick & Scharfstein, David S, 1990. "A Theory of Predation Based on Agency Problems in Financial Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 93-106, March.
  7. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1998. "Exclusive Dealing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 64-103, February.
  8. Fumagalli, Chiara & Motta, Massimo, 2002. "Exclusive Dealing and Entry, when Buyers Compete," CEPR Discussion Papers 3493, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Dennis W. Carlton & Michael Waldman, 1998. "The Strategic Use of Tying to Preserve and Create Market Power in Evolving Industries," NBER Working Papers 6831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Innes, Robert & Sexton, Richard J, 1994. "Strategic Buyers and Exclusionary Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 566-84, June.
  11. Liliane Karlinger & Massimo Motta, 2012. "Exclusionary Pricing When Scale Matters," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 75-103, 03.
  12. Rasmusen, Eric B & Ramseyer, J Mark & Wiley, John S, Jr, 1991. "Naked Exclusion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1137-45, December.
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