Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Resale Price Maintenance with Strategic Customers

Bazhanov, Andrei ; Levin, Yuri ; and Nediak, Mikhail address Resale Price Maintenance with Strategic Customers.

ABSTRACT: We consider a decentralized supply chain (DSC) under resale price maintenance (RPM)selling a limited-lifetime product to forward-looking customers with heterogeneous valuations. When customers do not know the inventory level, double marginalization in DSC leads to a higher profit and lower aggregate welfare than in centralized supply chain (CSC). When customers know the inventory, DSC coincides with CSC. Thus, overestimation of customer awareness may lead to overcentralization of supply chains with profit loss comparable with the loss from strategic customers. The case with unknown inventory is extended to an arbitrary number of retailers with inventory-independent and inventory-dependent demand. In both cases, the manufacturer, by setting a higher wholesale price, mitigates the inventory-increasing effect of competition and reaches the same profit as with a single retailer. The high viability of RPM as a strategic-behavior-mitigating tool may serve as another explanation of why manufacturers may prefer DSC with RPM to a vertically integrated firm.

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