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Manufacturer collusion: Strategic implications of the channel structure

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  • Reisinger, Markus
  • Thomes, Tim Paul

Abstract

We investigate how the structure of the distribution channel affects tacit collusion between manufacturers. When selling through a common retailer, we find - in contrast to the conventional understanding of tacit collusion that firms act to maximize industry profits - that colluding manufacturers strategically induce double marginalization so that retail prices are above the monopoly level. This lowers industry profits but increases the profit share that manufacturers appropriate from the retailer. Comparing common distribution with independent (exclusive) distribution, we show that the latter facilitates collusion. Despite this result, common retailing leads to lower welfare because a common retailer monopolizes the downstream market. For the case of independent retailing, we also demonstrate that contract offers that are observable to the rival retailer are not necessarily beneficial for collusive purposes.

Suggested Citation

  • Reisinger, Markus & Thomes, Tim Paul, 2017. "Manufacturer collusion: Strategic implications of the channel structure," DICE Discussion Papers 261, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:dicedp:261
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    3. Leonard F. S. Wang & Han Wang, 2021. "Will managerial delegation impede upstream collusion?," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 134(2), pages 127-146, October.

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    Keywords

    tacit collusion; contract observability; common retailing; independent (exclusive) retailing; two-part tariffs; wholesale price contracts;
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