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Deconstructing Chicago on Exclusive Dealing


  • Joseph Farrell

    (Department of Economics, University of California at Berkeley)


While exclusive dealing can be efficient, the Chicago School has also argued that it cannot be anticompetitive, or that it seldom is. That argument takes two forms; both are weak. First, a pricetheory argument (“the Chicago Three-Party Argument”) depends crucially on a special model of oligopoly and predicts that we will never see what we see. I show how simply replacing the embedded oligopoly model suggests new efficiency and anticompetitive motives for exclusive dealing; these motives differ markedly from those usually discussed. Second, “the Chicago Vertical Question” is a challenge to theories of anticompetitive vertical practices, including exclusive dealing. While that Question is salutary and helpful, its apparent force dissipates if we pay careful attention to externalities, as others have noted, and to the issue of alternatives versus benchmarks, as I describe below. Overall, economic logic does not support any general presumption that exclusive dealing is efficient.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph Farrell, 2005. "Deconstructing Chicago on Exclusive Dealing," Industrial Organization 0504017, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0504017
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 15

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Fumagalli, Chiara & Motta, Massimo & Persson, Lars, 2005. "Exclusive Dealing, Entry and Mergers," CEPR Discussion Papers 4902, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Kaplow, Louis & Shapiro, Carl, 2007. "Antitrust," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
    3. Kitamura, Hiroshi & Matsushima, Noriaki & Sato, Misato, 2018. "Exclusive contracts with complementary inputs," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 145-167.
    4. Fumagalli, Chiara & Motta, Massimo & Persson, Lars, 2007. "On the Anticompetitive Effect of Exclusive Dealing when Entry by Merger is Possible," Working Paper Series 718, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    5. Kitamura, Hiroshi & Matsushima, Noriaki & Sato, Misato, 2017. "Exclusive contracts and bargaining power," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 1-3.
    6. Dongyeol Lee, 2015. "The Competitive Effect of Exclusive Dealing in the Presence of Renegotiation Breakdown," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 47(1), pages 25-50, August.

    More about this item


    Exclusive dealing; vertical restraints; monopoly; antitrust;

    JEL classification:

    • L - Industrial Organization

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