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date: 15 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Exclusive dealing is a vertical restraint that requires distributors of a supplier’s products to purchase most or all of the products or services that they offer for sale within a product category from that supplier, thereby excluding competing products of rival suppliers from those distributors. Exclusive dealing will likely remain a controversial segment of antitrust policy. There are clearly strong procompetitive reasons for its use in a wide variety of settings. But since suppliers can create property rights to customers unilaterally, and, given locked-in distributors, can enforce those property rights with anticompetitive effects, the boundaries of efficient and therefore permissible exclusive dealing will continue to be fought over for the foreseeable future. Standards, at least in the United States, have become must more lenient over time. But it is unlikely that any dominant firm will be able to adopt exclusive dealing without triggering charges that its actions harm competition.

Keywords: exclusive dealing, antitrust, vertical restraints, promotion, property rights

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