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Paying For Shelf Space: An Investigation Of Merchandising Allowances In The Grocery Industry


  • Adam D. Rennhoff


This research examines the behavior of manufacturers and retailers in the presence of merchandising allowances. Merchandising allowances are fees manufacturers pay retailers to encourage them to allocate certain in-store promotional activities to the manufacturers' brand. According to estimates, retailers collect billions of dollars in these allowance payments annually. Using a three-stage game, I formulate a vertical structural model that endogenously models manufacturer, retailer, and consumer behavior. Manufacturers compete with each other, using merchandising allowance payments, in order to obtain premium shelf space at retail outlets. Retailers, given allowance offers, choose display configurations and then set retail prices. Consumers observe the display and retail prices and determine whether to purchase one or no units of the good. I estimate the model with a method of moments technique using IRI scanner data from the ketchup industry. In addition to estimating consumer tastes parameters, the model yields predictions of the underlying wholesale prices and the merchandising allowances each manufacturer offers. I use the parameter estimates to conduct a counterfactual simulation of how agents might respond when the use of merchandising allowances is no longer permissible. I find that while merchandising allowances increase retail profits, total welfare is lower due to the allowances.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam D. Rennhoff, 2004. "Paying For Shelf Space: An Investigation Of Merchandising Allowances In The Grocery Industry," Food Marketing Policy Center Research Reports 084, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:zwi:fpcrep:084

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pierre Desmet & Valérie Renaudin, 1998. "Estimation of Product Category Sales Responsiveness to Allocated Shelf Space," Post-Print halshs-00143451, HAL.
    2. Michelle Sovinsky Goeree, 2005. "Advertising in the US Personal Computer Industry," Industrial Organization 0503002, EconWPA.
    3. Rey, Patrick & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "The Logic of Vertical Restraints," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 921-939, December.
    4. William Comanor & Patrick Rey, 2000. "Vertical Restraints and the Market Power of Large Distributors," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 17(2), pages 135-153, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Benjamin Klein & Joshua D. Wright, 2007. "The Economics of Slotting Contracts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 421-454.
    2. Hao Wang, 2004. "Slotting Allowances and Retailer Market Power," Industrial Organization 0411009, EconWPA.
    3. Hao Wang, 2006. "Slotting allowances and retailer market power," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(1), pages 68-77, January.

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    Industrial Organization; Marketing;


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