On Mergers in Consumer Search Markets
AbstractWe study mergers in a market where N firms sell a homogeneous good and consumers search sequentially to discover prices. The main motivation for such an analysis is that mergers generally affect market prices and thereby, in a search environment, the search behavior of consumers. Endogenous changes in consumer search may strengthen, or alternatively, offset the primary effects of a merger. Our main result is that the level of search costs are crucial in determining the incentives of firms to merge and the welfare implications of mergers. When search costs are relatively small, mergers turn out not to be profitable for the merging firms. If search costs are relatively high instead, a merger causes a fall in average price and this triggers search. As a result, non-shoppers who didn’t find it worthwhile to search in the pre-merger situation, start searching post-merger. We show that this change in the search composition of demand makes mergers incentive-compatible for the firms and, in some cases, socially desirable.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 07-054/1.
Date of creation: 16 Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl
consnmer search; mergers; price dispersion;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure and Pricing - - - General
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
- L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-08-08 (All new papers)
- NEP-COM-2007-08-08 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-IND-2007-08-08 (Industrial Organization)
- NEP-MIC-2007-08-08 (Microeconomics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jennifer F. Reinganum, 1978.
"A Simple Model of Equilibrium Price Dispersion,"
335, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Maarten C. W. Janssen & José Luis Moraga-González, 2004. "Strategic Pricing, Consumer Search and the Number of Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(4), pages 1089-1118, October.
- Moraga-González, José Luis & Wildenbeest, Matthijs R., 2008.
"Maximum likelihood estimation of search costs,"
European Economic Review,
Elsevier, vol. 52(5), pages 820-848, July.
- Raymond Deneckere & Carl Davidson, 1985. "Incentives to Form Coalitions with Bertrand Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(4), pages 473-486, Winter.
- Baye, Michael R. & Kovenock, Dan & de Vries, Casper G., 1992. "It takes two to tango: Equilibria in a model of sales," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 493-510, October.
- Alan T. Sorensen, 2001. "An Empirical Model of Heterogeneous Consumer Search for Retail Prescription Drugs," NBER Working Papers 8548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Pratt, John W & Wise, David A & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1979. "Price Differences in Almost Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 189-211, May.
- George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213.
- Saul Lach, 2002.
"Existence and Persistence of Price Dispersion: an Empirical Analysis,"
NBER Working Papers
8737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Saul Lach, 2002. "Existence And Persistence Of Price Dispersion: An Empirical Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 433-444, August.
- McAfee R. Preston, 1995. "Multiproduct Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 83-105, October.
- Ali Hortaç Su & Chad Syverson, 2004. "Product Differentiation, Search Costs, And Competition in the Mutual Fund Industry: A Case Study of S&P 500 Index Funds," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 403-456, May.
- Simon P. Anderson & Regis Renault, 1999.
"Pricing, product diversity, and search costs: a Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond model,"
Virginia Economics Online Papers
335, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
- Simon P. Anderson & Regis Renault, 1999. "Pricing, Product Diversity, and Search Costs: A Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(4), pages 719-735, Winter.
- Anderson, S.P. & Renault, R., 1997. "Pricing, Product Diversity and Search Costs: A Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond Model," Papers 97.481, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
- Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
- Janssen, Maarten C.W. & Moraga-Gonzalez, Jose Luis & Wildenbeest, Matthijs R., 2005. "Truly costly sequential search and oligopolistic pricing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(5-6), pages 451-466, June.
- Perry, Martin K & Porter, Robert H, 1985. "Oligopoly and the Incentive for Horizontal Merger," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 219-27, March.
- Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
- Salant, Stephen W & Switzer, Sheldon & Reynolds, Robert J, 1983. "Losses from Horizontal Merger: The Effects of an Exogenous Change in Industry Structure on Cournot-Nash Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(2), pages 185-99, May.
- Han Hong & Matthew Shum, 2006. "Using price distributions to estimate search costs," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 257-275, 06.
- repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:2:p:257-275 is not listed on IDEAS
- Maarten C. W. Janssen & José Luis Moraga-Gonz�lez, 2004. "Strategic Pricing, Consumer Search and the Number of Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1089-1118.
- Ivaldi, Marc & Jullien, Bruno & Rey, Patrick & Seabright, Paul & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "The Economics of Unilateral Effects," IDEI Working Papers 222, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Moraga-Gonzalez, Jose L. & Petrikaite, Vaiva, 2011.
"Consumer search costs and the incentives to merge under Bertrand Competition,"
IESE Research Papers
D/934, IESE Business School.
- Jose Luis Moraga-Gonzalez & Vaiva Petrikaite, 2011. "Consumer Search Costs and the Incentives to merge under Bertrand Competition," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-099/1, Tinbergen Institute.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Antoine Maartens (+31 626 - 160 892)).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.