Retailers may enjoy stable cartel rents in their output market through the formation of a buyer group in their input market. A buyer group allows retailers to commit credibly to increased input prices, which serve to reduce combined final output to the monopoly level; increased input costs are then refunded from suppliers to retailers through slotting allowances or rebates. The stability of such an ‘implied cartel’ depends on the retailers’ incentives to source their inputs secretly from a supplier outside of the buyer group arrangement at lower input prices. Cheating is limited if retailers sign exclusive dealing or minimum purchase provisions. We discuss the relevancy of our findings for antitrust policy.
Review of Industrial Organization – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 1, 2013
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