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A Price Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration

  • Patrick Legros
  • Andrew Newman

This article presents a perfectly competitive model of firm boundary decisions and study their interplay with product demand, technology, and welfare. Integration is privately costly but is effective at coordinating production decisions; nonintegration is less costly but coordinates relatively poorly. Output price influences the choice of ownership structure: integration increases with the price level. At the same time, ownership affects output, because integration is more productive than nonintegration. For a generic set of demand functions, equilibrium delivers heterogeneity of ownership and performance among ex ante identical enterprises. The price mechanism transmutes demand shifts into industry-wide reorganizations and generates external effects from technological shocks: productivity changes in some firms may induce ownership changes in others. If the enterprise managers have full title to its revenues, market equilibrium ownership structures are second-best efficient. When managers have less than full revenue claims, equilibrium can be inefficient, with too little integration. JEL Codes: D21, D23, D41, L11, L14, L22. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series ULB Institutional Repository with number 2013/141436.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/141436
Contact details of provider: Postal: CP135, 50, avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles
Web page: http://difusion.ulb.ac.be
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