Patrick DeGraba

Most-Favored-Customer Clauses and Multilateral Contracting: When NondiscriminationImplies Uniformity

DeGraba and Postlewaite (1992) show that the seller of a durable input can solve the time inconsistency problem by offering most-favored-customer (MFC) protection to buyers. McAfee and Schwartz (1994) show that if a supplier sells inputs to competing firms using two-part tariffs, MFC protection that allows a firm to replace its contract with a contract executed by any other firm will not solve the commitment problem, and argue this implies managers cannot use MFCs as a strategic commitment device in complex contracting situations. This paper shows that if the profits of the seller and the buyers are monotonic in each term of the contract, then applying MFC protection to each term of a contract allows a manager to solve his commitment problem in complex contacting situations. We show that “standard” contract arrangements (two-part tariffs, declining block tariffs, and royalties as a percentage of sales) meet this condition.