When Prohibiting Wholesale Price-Parity Agreements Harms Consumers
28 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2020
Date Written: September 28, 2020
We study the competitive and welfare effects of wholesale price-parity agreements. These contracts prevent a monopolist, who sells its product to final consumers both directly and indirectly through alternative distribution channels, to charge different input (wholesale) prices to competing intermediaries (e.g., platforms). In a multi-channel and multi-layered industry, organized as an agency business model, we find that the monopolist and the intermediaries do not necessarily have aligned incentives concerning the introduction of wholesale price-parity. While these agreements always hurt the monopolist, they may benefit the intermediaries when competition between the direct and the indirect distribution channels is sufficiently intense. Moreover, when this is the case, in contrast to retail price-parity agreements that typically reduce consumer welfare, wholesale price-parity benefits consumers.
Keywords: Antitrust, Consumer Welfare, Wholesale Price-Parity Agreements, Agency Business Model
JEL Classification: L42, L50, L81
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation