Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A more general theory of commodity bundling

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Mark Armstrong (Oxford) have come up with A more general theory of commodity bundling.

ABSTRACT: This paper extends the standard model of bundling as a price discrimination device to allow products to be substitutes and for products to be supplied by separate sellers. Whether integrated or separate, firms have an incentive to introduce a bundling discount when demand for the bundle is elastic relative to demand for stand-alone products. Product substitutability typically gives an integrated firm a greater incentive to offer a bundle discount (relative to the model with additive preferences), while substitutability is often the sole reason why separate sellers wish to offer inter-firm discounts. When separate sellers coordinate on an inter-firm discount, they can use the discount to overturn product substitutability and relax competition.

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