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The Incentive for Vertical Integration

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  • Nicholas Economides

Abstract

This paper evaluates the incentive of firms to vertically integrate in a simple 2X2 Bertrand model of two substitutes that are each comprised of two complementary components. It confirms that all prices fall as a result of a vertical merger. Further, we find that, when the composite goods are poor substitutes, producers of complementary components are better off after integration. Thus, at equilibrium, each pair of complementary goods is produced by a single firm (parallel vertical integration). In contrast, when the composite goods are close substitutes, vertical integration reduces profits of the merging firms and is therefore undesirable. Thus, at equilibrium, all four products are produced by independent firms (independent ownership). The reason for the change in the direction of the incentive to merge is that, as the composite goods become closer substitutes, competition between them reduces prices (in comparison to full monopoly) thereby eliminating the usefulness of a vertical merger in accomplishing the same price effect. We also find that, for intermediate levels of substitution, firms producing complementary components prefer to merge only if the substitute good is produced by an integrated firm. Thus, for intermediate levels of substitution, both parallel vertical integration and independent ownership are equilibria. When the demand system is symmetric, total surplus is higher in parallel vertical integration, for all degrees of substitution among the products, even for the case when the goods are close substitutes and parallel vertical integration is not the equilibrium outcome. Thus, the market provides less vertical integration than is optimal from a social surplus maximizing point of view.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas Economides, 2005. "The Incentive for Vertical Integration," Working Papers 05-01, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ste:nystbu:05-01
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Economides, Nicholas & Salop, Steven C, 1992. "Competition and Integration among Complements, and Network Market Structure," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 105-123, March.
    2. Schmalensee, Richard, 1973. "A Note on the Theory of Vertical Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 442-449, Part I, M.
    3. Michael A. Salinger, 1988. "Vertical Mergers and Market Foreclosure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(2), pages 345-356.
    4. Comanor, William S & Frech, H E, III, 1985. "The Competitive Effects of Vertical Agreements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 539-546, June.
    5. Salinger, Michael A, 1989. "The Meaning of "Upstream" and "Downstream" and the Implications for Modeling Vertical Mergers," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(4), pages 373-387, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicholas Economides, 2007. "Nonbanks in the payments system: vertical integration issues," Proceedings – Payments System Research Conferences, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    2. Beata Błasiak-Nowak, 2007. "Klastery jako sposób na przyspieszenie rozwoju obszarów problemowych," Gospodarka Narodowa. The Polish Journal of Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 7-8, pages 83-104.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design

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