Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
Waseem Ahmad (University of Alberta), Sven Anders (University of Alberta) and Philippe Marcoul (University of Alberta) discuss Production Arrangements and Strategic Brand Level Competition in a Vertically Linked Market.
ABSTRACT: This paper develops and tests different theoretical models of competition in a vertically linked market assuming different production arrangements for retailer private label brands (PL). We then empirical estimate retailer manufacturer competitive behavior based on best-fit games and determine the impact of PL production arrangements on pricing strategies for PLs and NBs. Retailers are using different production arrangements to produce PL products. In fact, a retailer may own a production facility, a national brand manufacturer (NB) produces the PL product exclusively for the retailer or the retailer outsources PL production to a non-NB manufacturer. These possible, different production arrangements can have significant implications for the competitive interactions and market outcomes between retailers and NB manufacturers. Existing economic literature has identified a significant degree of variation in the type of competitive interactions across grocery product categories. However, the majority empirical studies in IO have typically imposed assumptions about the nature of vertical production arrangement without formally and explicitly investigating the nature of PL-NB competitive interaction under different production arrangements. The analysis builds on the Non-Nested Model Comparison (NNMC) approach and employs weekly store-level retail scanner data, for a major North American retail chain. The findings from different theoretical models and their empirical application reveal that no consistent pattern of competitive interactions exists between PLs and NBs across different food product categories. Competitive patterns and outcomes vary depending on the nature of the PL production arrangement. Our study contributes to the IO literature by being the first to consistently derive and estimate the impact of PL production arrangement on brand-level competition.