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Horizontal Mergers with Free Entry in Differentiated Oligopolies

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  • Nisvan Erkal
  • Daniel Piccinin

Abstract

Antitrust authorities view the possibility of entry as a key determinant of whether a proposed merger will be harmful to society. This paper examines the effects of horizontal mergers in models of non-localized, differentiated Bertrand oligopoly that allow for free entry. The analysis of the long run effects of mergers in differentiated products markets raises issues that are significantly different from those in the short run or in homogeneous products markets due to the introduction of new varieties. Our analysis reveals that determining the properties of consumer preferences is crucial to the antitrust analysis of mergers in differentiated products markets. Specifically, we show that if the demand system satisfies the Independence from Irrelevant Alternatives (IIA) property and if the number of firms is treated as a continuous variable, mergers in differentiated products markets have no long run effect on consumer welfare. Moreover, in this case, marginal cost savings are to a large extent irrelevant to the consumer welfare effects of mergers. If the number of firms is treated as a discrete variable, fixed or marginal cost savings are a necessary condition for mergers to have zero or positive effect on consumer welfare. Using the example of linear demand, we show that if the demand system does not satisfy the IIA property, mergers in differentiated products markets can harm consumer welfare in long run equilibrium. Moreover, the amount of harm increases with consumers’ taste for variety.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 976.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:976

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Related research

Keywords: Horizontal mergers; free entry; product differentiation; independence from irrelevant alternatives; antitrust policy;

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References

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  1. Anderson, S.P. & de Palma, A. & Thisse, J.F., 1995. "Privatization and Efficiency in a Differentiated Industry," Papers 9505, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
  2. Xavier Vives, 2002. "Private Information, Strategic Behavior, and Efficiency in Cournot Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(3), pages 361-376, Autumn.
  3. Simon P. Anderson & Andre de Palma & Brent Kreider, 2000. "Tax Incidence in Differentiated Product Oligopoly," Virginia Economics Online Papers 341, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  4. Cabral, Luis M. B., 2003. "Horizontal mergers with free-entry: why cost efficiencies may be a weak defense and asset sales a poor remedy," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 607-623, May.
  5. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  6. Davidson, Carl & Mukherjee, Arijit, 2007. "Horizontal mergers with free entry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 157-172, February.
  7. Spector, David, 2002. "Horizontal mergers, entry, and efficiency defences," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 0206, CEPREMAP.
  8. Ottaviano, G.I.P. & Thisse, J.-F., 1999. "Monopolistic Competition, Multiproduct Firms and Optimum Product Diversity," Economics Working Papers eco99/31, European University Institute.
  9. Werden, Gregory J & Froeb, Luke M, 1998. "The Entry-Inducing Effects of Horizontal Mergers: An Exploratory Analysis," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 525-43, December.
  10. Farrell, J. & Shapiro, C., 1988. "Horizontal Mergers: An Equilibrium Analysis," Papers 17, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  11. Werden, Gregory J & Froeb, Luke M, 1994. "The Effects of Mergers in Differentiated Products Industries: Logit Demand and Merger Policy," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 407-26, October.
  12. Benassy, Jean-Pascal, 1996. "Taste for variety and optimum production patterns in monopolistic competition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 41-47, July.
  13. Epstein, Roy J. & Rubinfeld, Daniel, 2012. "Merger Simulation: A Simplified Approach with New Applications," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt2k9116ph, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  14. Roy J. Epstein & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 2002. "Merger Simulation: A Simplified Approach with New Applications," Industrial Organization 0201002, EconWPA.
  15. Rubinfeld, Daniel L. & Epstein, Roy J., 2001. "Merger Simulation: A Simplified Approach with New Applications," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt2sq9s8c8, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  16. repec:fth:louvco:9919 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Epstein, Roy J. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 2001. "Merger Simulation: A Simplified Approach with New Applications," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt9jt389nb, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  18. Epstein, Roy J. & Rubinfeld, Daniel, 2001. "Merger Simulation: A Simplified Approach with New Applications," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1c65s24r, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Federico Etro, 2008. "Stackelberg Competition with Endogenous Entry," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(532), pages 1670-1697, October.
  2. Federico Etro, 2010. "Endogenous market structures and antitrust policy," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 57(1), pages 9-45, March.
  3. Erkal, Nisvan & Piccinin, Daniel, 2010. "Cooperative R&D under uncertainty with free entry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 74-85, January.

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