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Impact of mandated exclusive territories in the US brewing industry: Evidence from scanner level data

International Journal of Industrial Organization. December 1, 2018

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I examine the competitive effects of mandated exclusive territories in the US beer industry. Theory is ambiguous as to the competitive impacts of this vertical practice. Using scanner data from a large number of grocery stores, I empirically examine the impact on beer prices, quantities, and number of brands sold after Wisconsin mandated that brewers must assign exclusive wholesale territories in 2006. Reduced form results from a differences-in-differences model using several control groups and a synthetic control show that the mandates increased prices and reduced quantity of craft beer. Overall number of brands sold decreased as well and craft brewers were the most negatively impacted. Findings suggest that the mandate gave protection to wholesalers and caused an increase in the costs of distribution and reduced competition in the brewing industry.