Many relationships between manufacturers of goods and their distributors (e.g. wholesalers and retailers) are governed by distribution contracts that stipulate certain obligations for one or both parties, thereby limiting in some way their commercial freedom. These obligations are commonly referred to as 'vertical restraints'.
The economic literature has considerably improved our understanding of the impact of vertical restraints on competitions between brands and among distributors. A drawback of the current literature is, however, that research on the subject has almost entirely been carried out in the context of competing single-product retailers and in the context of retail monopolies. Very little research has been done yet in the context of competition between retailers each carrying a similar assortment of products and brands (between 'multibrand retailers' ), although it is a context that actually applies to many goods markets.
The central objective of the research project is to obtain a closer understanding of the impact of exclusive dealing arrangements and of resale price maintenance provisions in the context of multibrand retailers, using a spatial competition model. On the basis of this analysis (and the subsequent analysis of case law) suggestions for European competition policy will be formulated.
Considering the outstanding reputation of many of the institute's scientists in the domain of contract theory and vertical restraints (a.o. Rey, Tirole, Martimort and Cremer) and the fact that I will be under the direct supervision of Professor Rey, it is hard to think of a better place to do this research project and to develop the skills necessary for future research.