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Welfare Trade-Offs in US Rail Mergers

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  • Ivaldi, Marc
  • McCullough, Gerard

Abstract

Since the publication by Williamson (1968) of his seminal paper on antitrust there has been a growing recognition by regulators of the need to assess trade-offs between merger-related efficiency gains and merger-induced increases in market power. This paper addresses that need by presenting a structural econometric model of recent mergers in the US rail industry. The paper extends the structural methodology by evaluating actual (as opposed to simulated) merger effects and by incorporating parametric estimates of merger efficiencies. Our empirical finding is that consumer surplus in US rail freight markets increased by about 30% between 1986 and 2001 despite dramatic industry consolidation, suggesting that to date the Williamson trade-off has favoured rail customers. We find that behaviour in these markets is consistent with the Kreps-Scheinkman (1983) model of a two-stage game where capacities are chosen first and then prices are set to give the Cournot outcome.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5000.

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Date of creation: Apr 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5000

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Related research

Keywords: differentiated product markets; logit models; merger analysis; railroads;

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References

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  1. Burton, Mark L, 1993. "Railroad Deregulation, Carrier Behavior, and Shipper Response: A Disaggregated Analysis," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 417-34, December.
  2. Lars-Hendrik Röller & Robin C. Sickles, 1997. "Capacity and Product Market Competition: Measuring Market Power in a "Puppy-Dog" Industry," CIG Working Papers FS IV 97-31, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  3. Wilson, Wesley W, 1997. "Cost Savings and Productivity in the Railroad Industry," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 21-40, January.
  4. Xavier Vives, 2001. "Oligopoly Pricing: Old Ideas and New Tools," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026272040x, December.
  5. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-33, March.
  6. Ivaldi, M & McCullough, G J, 2001. "Density and Integration Effects on Class I U.S. Freight Railroads," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 161-82, March.
  7. Gasmi, F. & Vuong, Q.H., 1988. "An Econometric Analysis Of Some Duopolistic Games In Prices And Advertising," Papers m8903, Southern California - Department of Economics.
  8. Aviv Nevo, 2000. "Mergers with Differentiated Products: The Case of the Ready-to-Eat Cereal Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(3), pages 395-421, Autumn.
  9. David M. Kreps & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1983. "Quantity Precommitment and Bertrand Competition Yield Cournot Outcomes," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 326-337, Autumn.
  10. Baumol, William J & Bradford, David F, 1970. "Optimal Departures from Marginal Cost Pricing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 265-83, June.
  11. Winston, Clifford, 1985. "Conceptual Development in the Economics of Transportation: An Interpretive Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 57-94, March.
  12. Karikari, John Agyei & Brown, Stephen M & Nadji, Mehrzad, 2002. "The Union Pacific/Southern Pacific Railroads Merger: Effect of Trackage Rights on Rates," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 271-85, November.
  13. Frank Verboven, 1996. "International Price Discrimination in the European Car Market," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(2), pages 240-268, Summer.
  14. Ivaldi, Marc & Verboven, Frank, 2005. "Quantifying the effects from horizontal mergers in European competition policy," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(9-10), pages 669-691, December.
  15. Pittman, Russell W, 1990. "Railroads and Competition: The Santa Fe/Southern Pacific Merger Proposal," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 25-46, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kristof De Witte & Elbert Dijkgraaf, 2007. "Mean and Bold?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-092/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Jerome Foncel & Marc Ivaldi & Jrisy Motis, 2008. "An Econometric Workbench for Comparing the Substantive and Dominance Tests in Horizontal Merger Analysis," Working Papers 0833, University of Crete, Department of Economics.
  3. Duarte Brito & Pedro Pereira & Joaquim Ramalho, 2013. "Mergers, Coordinated Effects and Efficiency in the Portuguese Non-Life Insurance Industry," CEFAGE-UE Working Papers 2013_18, University of Evora, CEFAGE-UE (Portugal).
  4. Coublucq, Daniel, 2013. "Demand estimation with selection bias: A dynamic game approach with an application to the US railroad industry," DICE Discussion Papers 94, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  5. Friebel, Guido & McCullough, Gerard & Padilla Angulo, Laura, 2008. "Patterns of Restructuring: The U.S. Class 1 Railroads from 1984 to 2004," CEPR Discussion Papers 6836, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Jrisy Motis, 2007. "Mergers and Acquisitions Motives," Working Papers 0730, University of Crete, Department of Economics.
  7. Marc Ivaldi, 2005. "Restructuring Railways: In Theory and Practice," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 3(4), pages 3-9, 01.
  8. Coublucq, Daniel, 2013. "Econometric analysis of productivity with measurement error: Empirical application to the US Railroad industry," DICE Discussion Papers 95, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  9. Dennis W. Carlton & Randal C. Picker, 2007. "Antitrust and Regulation," NBER Working Papers 12902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Dennis W. Carlton & Randal C. Picker, 2013. "Antitrust and Regulation," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Regulation and Its Reform: What Have We Learned?, pages 25-61 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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