Quantitative Marketing and Economics

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 43–77 | Cite as

Tie-in contracts with downstream competition

  • Sreya Kolay


A tie-in contract has frequently come under scrutiny for its role as an exclusionary device. A firm that is a monopolist in a primary market can utilize such contracts to exclude a more efficient rival in a secondary market. When the firms sell through competing retailers, the leveraging firm may offer tie-in contracts to the retailers inducing them to purchase both primary and secondary products entirely from it such that the rival is excluded. We examine whether such tie-in contracts are profitable for an incumbent firm under different conditions of (i) the ability to commit to prices by the upstream firms and (ii) downstream competition among the retailers. We show that when retailers compete in prices, then regardless of whether the entrant is able to commit to its own prices, an exclusionary tie-in strategy is profitable (not profitable) for the incumbent when it is able (unable) to commit to prices. However, when retailers compete in quantities, the entrant’s commitment ability does matter. Specifically, an exclusionary tie-in strategy (i) may be unprofitable for an incumbent when both upstream firms are able to commit to their prices, depending on the degree of cost advantage of the entrant; (ii) is always profitable when it alone can commit to its price; and (iii) is unprofitable when both upstream firms cannot commit to their prices. Our results extend to situations where the products are complementary or substitutes and where the retailers may be asymmetric in nature.


Theoretical modeling Tie-in contracts Exclusion Downstream competition Commitment 

JEL Classification

C72 D43 L13 L42 


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Copyright information

© US Government (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Paul Merage School of BusinessUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

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