Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Bergen, Department of Economics

No 01/17: Platform price parity clauses with direct sales

Bjørn Olav Johansen () and Thibaud Vergé ()
Additional contact information
Bjørn Olav Johansen: Department of Economics, University of Bergen, Norway, Postal: P.O.Box 7800, 5020 Bergen, Norway
Thibaud Vergé: CREST, ENSAE, Université Paris-Saclay and Norwegian School of Economics

Abstract: In the context of vertical contractual relationships, where competing sellers distribute their products directly as well as through competing intermediation platforms, we analyze the welfare effects of price parity clauses. These contractual clauses prevent a seller from offering its product at a lower price on other platforms or through its own direct sales channel. Recently, they have been the subject of several antitrust investigations. Contrary to the theories of harm developed by competition agencies and in some of the recent literature, we show that when we account for the sellers’ participation constraints, price parity clauses do not always lead to higher commissions and final prices. Instead, we find that they may simultaneously bene.t all the actors (platforms, sellers and consumers), even in the absence of traditional efficiency arguments.

Keywords: Vertical contracts; price parity clauses; platforms; endogenous participation

JEL-codes: L13; L42

36 pages, January 27, 2017

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