How to Auction an Essential Facility When Underhand Integration is Possible

29 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2001 Last revised: 19 Apr 2002

See all articles by Eduardo M. R. A. Engel

Eduardo M. R. A. Engel

Yale University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Alexander Galetovic

Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez; Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; University of Padua - CRIEP

Ronald D. Fischer

University of Chile - Center of Applied Economics (CEA)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2001

Abstract

There are many industries in which potentially competitive segments require services provided by natural monopoly bottlenecks (essential facilities). Since it is difficult to regulate these facilities, developing countries are using Demsetz auctions, where the facility is awarded to the firm that bids the lowest user fee. In this paper we show that when underhand agreements between the monopoly bottleneck and downstream firms are possible, Demsetz auctions need floors on bids, since otherwise welfare can be lower than with an unregulated monopoly. We model an underhand agreement using a standard hidden information model. The essential facility is an uninformed principal randomly matched to a downstream company, which observes its costs after closing the underhand agreement. When the essential facility prefers the option of vertical separation, there is downstream competition, which implies that only low cost firms survive. We find that a sufficiently high floor on bids promotes vertical separation, yielding higher welfare than either an unregulated or a vertically integrated monopoly. Moreover, prohibiting open vertical integration means this floor can be lower, thus enhancing welfare. The incentive compatibility constraints required by underhand agreements imply rent sharing and production distortions that make vertical integration less attractive.

Suggested Citation

Engel, Eduardo M. and Galetovic, Alexander and Fischer, Ronald D., How to Auction an Essential Facility When Underhand Integration is Possible (March 2001). NBER Working Paper No. w8146. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=262101

Eduardo M. Engel (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States
203-432-5595 (Phone)
203-432-5779 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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Alexander Galetovic

Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez ( email )

Peñalolén
Santiago
Chile

Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States

University of Padua - CRIEP ( email )

Padua
Italy

Ronald D. Fischer

University of Chile - Center of Applied Economics (CEA) ( email )

Republica 701
Casilla 2777
Santiago
Chile
+56/2/678 4055 (Phone)
+56/2/689 7895 (Fax)

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