Antitrust analysis of supermarkets: global concerns playing out in local markets

Authors

  • Ronald W. Cotterill

    1. Agricultural and Resource Economics and Director of the Food Marketing Policy Center at the University of Connecticut, CT, USA
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    • Ronald W. Cotterill (email: ronald.cotterill@uconn.edu) is Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Director of the Food Marketing Policy Center at the University of Connecticut, CT, USA.


Abstract

This paper reviews the basic components of antitrust analysis for the supermarket industry, including definition of product and geographic markets and the measurement of market power. The analysis of prices and profits in a market structure context remains important, especially in countries such as Australia with very high supermarket concentration. Firm and brand level New Empirical Industrial Organisation models of demand and oligopoly pricing also provide insights for evaluating antitrust claims. Recent research on vertical pricing games and price transmission expand the analysis to market channel pricing issues, including coalescing power by supermarkets and food manufacturers. The issues and approaches explained in this paper are relevant for policy-orientated research on supermarkets worldwide, including Australia.

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