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Exercising Market Power in Proprietary Aftermarkets


  • Severin Borenstein
  • Jeffrey MacKie-Mason
  • Janet Netz


In many recent antitrust cases, manufacturers of complex high- technology equipment have been accused of exercising market power in the sale of proprietary service or parts necessary to maintain the machines they produce. The manufacturer generally concedes that it has market power in selling the aftermarket service or parts, but argues that it would not exercise such power because high aftermarket prices would cause consumers to select a different brand in the competitive market for the original equipment. We study the incentive to exercise market power in aftermarkets when the original equipment market is perfectly competitive, a differentiated duopoly, or monopolized. In all cases, we show that the price in the aftermarket will exceed marginal cost. Furthermore, our analysis indicates that aftermarket prices may actually be higher when the equipment market is more competitive. Nonetheless, we suggest that in a richer model -- in which equipment sellers might want to price discriminate, create barriers to entry, or influence the pace at which users upgrade to newer models -- firms in less competitive equipment markets are likely to have a greater incentive to maintain a monopoly position in the sale of their aftermarket products.

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  • Severin Borenstein & Jeffrey MacKie-Mason & Janet Netz, 1996. "Exercising Market Power in Proprietary Aftermarkets," Working Papers _002, University of California at Berkeley, Haas School of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:calbha:_002

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Miao, Chun-Hui, 2010. "Consumer myopia, standardization and aftermarket monopolization," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 931-946, October.
    2. Paul Isely & Matthew Roelofs, 2004. "Primary market and aftermarket competition in the bicycle component industry," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(18), pages 2097-2102.
    3. Heubrandner, Florian & Skiera, Bernd, 2010. "Time preference and the welfare effects of tie-in sales," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(3), pages 314-317, September.
    4. Lam, W., 2015. "Switching Costs in Two-sided Markets," CORE Discussion Papers 2015024, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    5. Ben O Smith, 2016. "Giving away the store: How the zero price constraint results in fewer add-on features," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(2), pages 983-992.
    6. Laussel, Didier & Van Long, Ngo & Resende, Joana, 2015. "Network effects, aftermarkets and the Coase conjecture: A dynamic Markovian approach," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 84-96.
    7. Wesley R. Hartmann & Harikesh S. Nair, 2010. "Retail Competition and the Dynamics of Demand for Tied Goods," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(2), pages 366-386, 03-04.
    8. Lee, Jinhyuk & Park, Jaeok, 2014. "Pricing Of Complementary Goods As An Implicit Financial Arrangement," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 55(2), pages 207-228, December.
    9. Östlin, Johan & Sundin, Erik & Björkman, Mats, 2008. "Importance of closed-loop supply chain relationships for product remanufacturing," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 336-348, October.
    10. Glenn Ellison, 2005. "A Model of Add-On Pricing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 585-637.
    11. Ben O. Smith, 2013. "Piracy, Awareness and Welfare in a Required Aftermarket," 2013 Papers psm164, Job Market Papers.
    12. Baake, Pio, 2010. "Accidents, Liability Obligations and Monopolized Markets for Spare Parts," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 1-24.
    13. Laussel, Didier & Resende, Joana, 2014. "Dynamic price competition in aftermarkets with network effects," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 106-118.
    14. Severin Borenstein & Jeff MacKie-Mason & Janet Netz, 1994. "Tying and Market Power," Industrial Organization 9401001, EconWPA.
    15. Hartmann, Wesley R. & Nair, Harikesh S., 2007. "Retail Competition and the Dynamics of Consumer Demand for Tied Goods," Research Papers 1990, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    16. repec:kap:revind:v:50:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11151-017-9571-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Zhiqi Chen & Thomas Ross & W. Stanbury, 1998. "Refusals to Deal and Aftermarkets," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 13(1), pages 131-151, April.
    18. M. Savioli & L. Zirulia, 2015. "Add-on pricing: theory and evidence from the cruise industry," Working Papers wp1026, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    19. Baake Pio, 2010. "Accidents, Liability Obligations and Monopolized Markets for Spare Parts," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-26, May.
    20. Lam, Wing Man Wynne, 2014. "Switching Costs in Two-sided Markets," TSE Working Papers 14-517, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    21. Shastitko, A., 2012. "Competition on Aftermarkets: the Subject Matter and Policy Applications," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 104-126.
    22. Aidan Hollis, 1996. "Exclusivity Restrictions in Markets with Adverse Selection: The Case of Extended Warranties," Working Papers ecpap-96-03, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.

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