Discussion paper

DP5803 Upstream Competition and Downstream Buyer Power

This paper considers buyer power in the presence of upstream competition to supply a homogeneous product. A likely consequence of upstream competition is that each supplier is uncertain of its final output, because it does not know how many downstream buyers will select it as a seller. We present a model where, for this reason, final volumes are uncertain for each seller. We find a new source of buyer power when the surplus function is nonlinear: the event of negotiation with a large buyer increases the seller's expected output, which changes the expected average net surplus from the deal; this increases buyer power when the seller's surplus function is concave (and diminishes it when convex). We explore consequences for welfare, industry productivity, and investment incentives.


Smith, H and J Thanassoulis (2006), ‘DP5803 Upstream Competition and Downstream Buyer Power‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 5803. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp5803