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Antitrust Analysis of Supermarket Retailing: Common Global Concerns that Play Out in Local Markets

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  • Ronald W. Cotterill

Abstract

This paper reviews the basic antitrust standards for the supermarket industry including definition of product and geographic markets and the exercise of coordinated and unilateral market power. It surveys the structure-conduct-performance and the New Empirical Industrial Organization literature to highlight alternative tests for supermarket power. The focus is a supermarket chain?s ability to exercise buyer as well as seller power. Recent research on vertical pricing topics including noncompetitive pricing games, double marginalization, private labels, vertical foreclosure, vertical price leadership and price transmission expand the analysis to market channel pricing issues. The availability of comprehensive scanner data, new economic theory and extensive computing power now allows one to estimate food manufacturer and supermarket retailer pricing conduct in the wholesale market jointly with retailer conduct in the consumer market.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald W. Cotterill, 2005. "Antitrust Analysis of Supermarket Retailing: Common Global Concerns that Play Out in Local Markets," Food Marketing Policy Center Research Reports 088, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:zwi:fpcrep:088
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cotterill, Ronald W & Putsis, William P, Jr & Dhar, Ravi, 2000. "Assessing the Competitive Interaction between Private Labels and National Brands," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73(1), pages 109-137, January.
    2. Steve McCorriston, 2002. "Why should imperfect competition matter to agricultural economists?," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 29(3), pages 349-371, July.
    3. Ronald W. Cotterill, 2003. "The Impact of the Northeastern Dairy Compact on New England Consumers: A Report from the Milk Policy Wars," Food Marketing Policy Center Research Reports 077, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
    4. Dae-Wook Kim & Christopher R. Knittel, 2004. "Biases in Static Oligopoly Models? Evidence from the California Electricity Market," NBER Working Papers 10895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Cotterill, Ronald W & Haller, Lawrence E, 1992. "Barrier and Queue Effects: A Study of Leading U.S. Supermarket Chain Entry Patterns," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 427-440, December.
    6. Mills, David E, 1995. "Why Retailers Sell Private Labels," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 509-528, Fall.
    7. Charles Hyde & Jeffrey Perloff, 1998. "Multimarket market power estimation: the Australian retail meat sector," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(9), pages 1169-1176.
    8. Howard Smith, 2004. "Supermarket Choice and Supermarket Competition in Market Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 235-263.
    9. Evans, William N & Froeb, Luke M & Werden, Gregory J, 1993. "Endogeneity in the Concentration-Price Relationship: Causes, Consequences, and Cures," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 431-438, December.
    10. Cotterill, Ronald W, 1986. "Market Power in the Retail Food Industry: Evidence from Vermont," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(3), pages 379-386, August.
    11. Bettendorf, L & Verboven, F, 2000. "Incomplete Transmission of Coffee Bean Prices: Evidence from the Netherlands," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 27(1), pages 1-16, March.
    12. Cotterill, Ronald W., 1998. "Estimation of Cost Pass Through to Michigan Consumers in the ADM Price Fixing Case," Research Reports 25148, University of Connecticut, Food Marketing Policy Center.
    13. Chevalier, Judith A, 1995. "Capital Structure and Product-Market Competition: Empirical Evidence from the Supermarket Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 415-435, June.
    14. Luke Froeb & Daniel Hosken & Janis Pappalardo, 2004. "Economics Research at the FTC: Information, Retrospectives, and Retailing," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 25(4), pages 353-374, October.
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