Information Disclosure Policy and Ratcheting in Supply Chains

Posted: 18 Mar 2020

See all articles by Brian Mittendorf

Brian Mittendorf

Ohio State University (OSU) - Fisher College of Business

Jiwoong Shin

Yale School of Management

Dae-Hee Yoon

Yonsei University

Date Written: February 20, 2020


This paper studies implications of the ratcheting effect arising in the supply chain relationship. The ratcheting effect occurs when the retailer modifies his investment in the present period to receive a favorable wholesale price in the future. In a simple model of multi-period supply chain interactions, we demonstrate that such an endogenous ratcheting effect can have multi-faceted reverberations for the supply chain. We confirm the conventional wisdom that a retailer may take actions that harm the supply chain to stave off supplier opportunistic behavior. We consider two approaches to solve this ratcheting problem – market solution and regulatory solution. Under the market solution, we demonstrate that the traditional thinking is incomplete in that it fails to consider the supplier's endogenous response. Under the market solution, the supplier uses deep discounts of initial input prices to convince the retailer to focus on short-run profits rather than long-run concerns. These deep discounts not only encourage mutually beneficial investments but also alleviate double-marginalization inefficiencies along the supply chain. Moreover, we compare those results to the regulatory solution case where the retailer's private information is publicly observed through mandatory disclosure policy. We show that such mandatory disclosure would reduce the total channel efficiency compared to the market solution, where the manufacturer can strategically mitigate the ratcheting problem. Therefore, our model presents not only a scenario where ratcheting concerns are endogenous but also one where such ratcheting concerns result in socially beneficial responses. That is, it can be welfare-enhancing to permit firms to withhold forward-looking information.

Keywords: ratcheting, information disclosure, supply chain, and pricing

JEL Classification: D30, M31

Suggested Citation

Mittendorf, Brian and Shin, Jiwoong and Yoon, Dae-Hee, Information Disclosure Policy and Ratcheting in Supply Chains (February 20, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Brian Mittendorf

Ohio State University (OSU) - Fisher College of Business ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1144
United States

Jiwoong Shin (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

165 Whitney Avenue
PO Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520
United States
2034326665 (Phone)
06520 (Fax)


Dae-Hee Yoon

Yonsei University ( email )

School of Business
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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