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Why We Need to Measure the Effect of Merger Policy and How to Do It

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  • Dennis W. Carlton

Abstract

In this article, I explain the inadequacy of our current state of knowledge regarding the effectiveness of antitrust policy towards mergers. I then discuss the types of data that one must collect in order to be able to perform an analysis of the effectiveness of antitrust policy. There are two types of data one requires in order to perform such an analysis. One is data on the relevant market pre and post merger. The second is data on the specific predictions of the government agencies about the market post-merger. A key point of this article is to stress how weak an analysis of only the first type of data is. The frequent call for retrospective studies typically envisions relying on just this type of data, but the limitations on the analysis are not well understood. As I explain below, retrospective studies that ask whether prices went up post merger are surprisingly poor guides for analyzing merger policy. It is only when the second type of data is combined with the first type that a reliable analysis of antitrust policy can be carried out. There is a need both to collect the necessary data and to analyze it correctly.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14719.

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Date of creation: Feb 2009
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Publication status: published as Dennis Carlton, 2009. "Why We Need to Measure the Effect of Merger Policy and How to Do It," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 5.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14719

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  1. Orley Ashenfelter & Daniel Hosken, 2008. "The Effect of Mergers on Consumer Prices: Evidence from Five Selected Case Studies," Working Papers 1037, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
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Cited by:
  1. Joseph Farrell & Paul Pautler & Michael Vita, 2009. "Economics at the FTC: Retrospective Merger Analysis with a Focus on Hospitals," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 35(4), pages 369-385, December.
  2. Davies, Stephen & Olczak, Matthew & Coles, Heather, 2011. "Tacit collusion, firm asymmetries and numbers: Evidence from EC merger cases," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 221-231, March.
  3. Brito, Duarte & Pereira, Pedro & Ramalho, Joaquim J.S., 2013. "Mergers, coordinated effects and efficiency in the Portuguese non-life insurance industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 554-568.
  4. Mattia Guidi, 2011. "Does Independence Affect Regulatory Performance? The case of national competition authorities in the European Union," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 64, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).

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