Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 59–95 | Cite as

Incentives and Impacts of Vertical Coordination in a Food Production-Marketing Chain: A Non-cooperative Multi-Stage, Multi-Player Analysis



Vertical coordination in the form of contracts and integration is common where changing consumer preferences require producers to adapt to changing market situations that require a steady supply of quality controlled products. We identify two vertical coordination mechanisms that are common in the real world but often ignored by the literature due to their inherent complexity. Using economic models, we measure the incentives and impact of market agents’ strategic behavior and strategies along a hypothetical food production-marketing chain. Our results reestablish the importance and value of open market and contracts in a world where both are gradually replaced by consolidation and integration. We also find that in most types of vertical coordination there is a critical limit to the levels of coordination beyond which it is not profitable to coordinate. We recommend that competitive policies could focus more on market structure where independent firms thrive rather than on the degree of coordination per se.


Vertical coordination Vertical contract Vertical integration Tapered integration Non-cooperative oligopoly Strategic behavior Production-marketing chain 

JEL Classification

L13 Q13 



Valuable input from Dr. Susan H. Bhuyan on an earlier draft is gratefully acknowledged. This article contributes to NJAES project 02151. The usual disclaimers apply.

Comments and suggestions of anonymous reviewers and the editors have substantially improved this research article, and we are extremely thankful to them.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agribusiness EconomicsSouthern Illinois University CarbondaleCarbondaleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural, Food & Resource EconomicsRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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