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Cost-based transfer pricing with the existence of a direct channel in an integrated supply chain

Hamamura, Jumpei (2018): Cost-based transfer pricing with the existence of a direct channel in an integrated supply chain.

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Purpose: This study analytically explores the economic role of transfer pricing in a vertically integrated supply chain with a direct channel, specifically when it uses cost-based transfer prices, as is frequently observed in management practices. We compare two representative transfer pricing methods: full-cost and variable-cost pricing. Although many firms open a direct channel, which affects the optimal decision on transfer prices, prior literature has not considered this case. Design/methodology/approach: We demonstrate our result using a non-cooperative game theoretical approach. Findings: Our results show that full-cost pricing is more profitable than variable-cost pricing when the fixed cost allocation to the marketing division is low, contrary to the established position in prior studies, from which we select our benchmark case. Moreover, we obtain a counterintuitive result, whereby, the firm-wide profit of a vertically integrated supply chain increases with fixed cost allocation. Originality: Our study considers the direct channel and internal transfer pricing in a vertically integrated supply chain, while prior research only considers one or the other. This model suggests an optimal choice of cost-based transfer pricing in managerial decisions. In addition, we demonstrate the positive effect of increasing fixed cost allocation, which prior management studies do not show. The findings of this study have implications for managerial practice by providing insights into supply chain design and showing that firms should consider the competition between channels when making decisions about transfer pricing methods.

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