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Timing Vertical Relationships


  • Ruble, Richard
  • Versaevel, Bruno
  • de Villemeur, Étienne


We show that the standard analysis of vertical relationships transposes directly to investment timing. Thus, when a firm undertaking a project requires an outside supplier (e.g. an equipment manufacturer) to provide it with a discrete input, and if the supplier has market power, investment occurs too late from an industry standpoint. The distortion in firm decisions is characterized by a Lerner index, which is related to the parameters of a stochastic downstream demand. When feasible, vertical restraints restore efficiency. For instance, the upstream firm can induce entry at the correct investment threshold by selling a call option on the input. Otherwise, competition may substitute for vertical restraints. In particular, if two firms are engaged in a preemption race downstream, the upstream firm sells the input to the first investor at a discount that is chosen in such a way that the race to preempt exactly offsets the vertical externality, and this leader invests at the optimal market threshold.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruble, Richard & Versaevel, Bruno & de Villemeur, Étienne, 2010. "Timing Vertical Relationships," TSE Working Papers 10-181, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:22908

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, January.
    2. Kuno J.M. Huisman & Peter M. Kort, 2015. "Strategic capacity investment under uncertainty," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(2), pages 376-408, June.
    3. Thijssen, Jacco J.J. & Huisman, Kuno J.M. & Kort, Peter M., 2012. "Symmetric equilibrium strategies in game theoretic real option models," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 219-225.
    4. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474.
    5. Grenadier, Steven R, 1996. " The Strategic Exercise of Options: Development Cascades and Overbuilding in Real Estate Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(5), pages 1653-1679, December.
    6. Mason, Robin & Weeds, Helen, 2010. "Investment, uncertainty and pre-emption," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 278-287, May.
    7. Marcel Boyer & Pierre Lasserre & Michel Moreaux, 2007. "The Dynamics of Industry Investments," CIRANO Working Papers 2007s-09, CIRANO.
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    Cited by:

    1. Etienne Billette de Villemeur & Richard Ruble & Bruno Versaevel, 2011. "Coordination and Cooperation in Investment Timing with Externalities?," Working Papers 1128, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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