Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bundling and Competition for Slots: On the Portfolio Effects of Bundling

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Doh-Shin Jeon (Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Economics) and Domenico Menicucci (Università degli Studi di Firenze) focus their newest paper on Bundling and Competition for Slots: On the Portfolio Effects of Bundling.

ABSTRACT: We consider competition among n sellers when each of them sells a portfolio of distinct products to a buyer having limited slots (or shelf space). We study how bundling affects competition for slots. When the buyer has k number of slots, efficiency requires the slots to be allocated to the best k products among all products. We first find that without bundling, equilibrium often does not exist and hence the outcome is often inefficient. Bundling changes competition between individual products into competition between portfolios and reduces competition from rival products. Therefore, each seller has an incentive to bundle his products. Furthermore, under bundling, an efficient equilibrium always exists. In particular, in the case of Digital goods, all equilibria are efficient if firms do not use slotting contracts. However, inefficient equilibria can exist if firms use slotting contracts. In the case of physical goods, pure bundling also can generate inefficient equilibria. Finally, we identify portfolio effects of bundling and analyze the consequences on horizontal merger.

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