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Do Buyer-Size Discounts Depend on the Curvature of the Surplus Function? Experimental Tests of Bargaining Models

  • Hans-Theo Normann

    (Royal Holloway, University of London)

  • Bradley J. Ruffle

    (Ben-Gurion University)

  • Christopher M. Sndyer

    (George Washington University)

A number of recent theoretical papers have shown that for buyer-size discounts to emerge in a bargaining model, the total surplus function over which parties bargain must have certain nonlinearities. We test the theory in an experimental setting in which a seller bargains with a number of buyers of different sizes. We generate nonlinearities in the surplus function by varying the shape of the seller's cost function. Our results strongly support the theory. As predicted, large-buyer discounts emerge only in the case of increasing marginal cost, corresponding to a concave surplus function.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Experimental with number 0308001.

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Date of creation: 03 Aug 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:0308001
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  1. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Organizational Design and Technology Choice under Intrafirm Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 195-222, March.
  2. Jim Engle-Warnick & Bradley Ruffle, 2002. "Buyer Countervailing Power versus Monopoly Power: Evidence from Experimental Posted-Offer Markets," Economics Papers 2002-W14, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  3. Sara Fisher Ellison & Christopher M. Snyder, 2010. "COUNTERVAILING POWER IN WHOLESALE PHARMACEUTICALS -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 32-53, 03.
  4. Bradley J. Ruffle, 2000. "Some factors affecting demand withholding in posted-offer markets," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 529-544.
  5. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  6. Selten, Reinhard & Stoecker, Rolf, 1986. "End behavior in sequences of finite Prisoner's Dilemma supergames A learning theory approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 47-70, March.
  7. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Intra-firm Bargaining under Non-binding Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 375-410, July.
  8. Inderst, Roman & Wey, Christian, 2001. "Bargaining, Mergers and Technology Choice in Bilaterally Oligopolistic Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 2981, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Tasneem Chipty & Christopher M. Snyder, 1999. "The Role Of Firm Size In Bilateral Bargaining: A Study Of The Cable Television Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 326-340, May.
  10. Scheffman, David T & Spiller, Pablo T, 1992. "Buyer's Strategies, Entry Barriers, and Competition," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(3), pages 418-36, July.
  11. Katz, Michael L, 1987. "The Welfare Effects of Third-Degree Price Discrimination in," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 154-67, March.
  12. Suchan Chae & Paul Heidhues, 1999. "The Effects of Downstream Distributor Chains on Upstream Producer Entry: A Bargaining Perspective," CIG Working Papers FS IV 99-35, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  13. Dobson, Paul W & Waterson, Michael, 1997. "Countervailing Power and Consumer Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 418-30, March.
  14. Plott, Charles R & Smith, Vernon L, 1978. "An Experimental Examination of Two Exchange Institutions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 133-53, February.
  15. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  16. Suchan Chae & Paul Heidhues, 1999. "Bargaining Power of a Coalition in Parallel Bargaining: Advantage of Multiple Cable System Operators," CIG Working Papers FS IV 99-01, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  17. McAfee, R Preston & Schwartz, Marius, 1994. "Opportunism in Multilateral Vertical Contracting: Nondiscrimination, Exclusivity, and Uniformity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 210-30, March.
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