Working Paper No. 555

Bilateral Oligopoly

Published: April 27, 2001 Pages: 41Keywords: Bilateral oligopoly; Bargaining; Intermediate goods; Decentralized trade, Walrasian outcome JEL-codes: C70; L10; D20; D40

Bilateral Oligopoly Jonas Björnerstedt and Jonas Stennek


In intermediate goods markets, both buyers and sellers normally have market power, and sales are based on bilaterally negotiated contracts specifying both price and quantity. In our model, pairs of buyers and sellers meet in bilateral but interdependent Rubinstein-Ståhl negotiations. The outcome has a simple characterization (a Nash equilibrium in Nash bargaining solutions) suitable for applied work. Equilibrium quantities are efficient regardless of concentration and also with few “trading links”. The law of one price does not hold. In addition to relation-specific characteristics, prices depend on both upstream and downstream concentration and on the structure of trading links. The requirements necessary for Walrasian prices are stronger than usually believed.

Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union and the Return of the Nation State

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This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

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