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The purpose of this article is to investigate the optimal merger policy in the presence of deterrence as of well as of type I and type II errors. We consider the optimal number of merger investigations, both when the competition authorities commit to a particular activity level and when they do not commit. If they commit, it is shown that the low quality of final decisions may lead to the deterrence of mergers that would have been welfare improving. On the other hand, when potential mergers with the largest negative impact on welfare are deterred, we find that the merger investigations themselves might have a negative impact on welfare (enforcement effect). It is shown that the absence of commitment can lead to a less active merger policy and lower welfare than what is the case if the authority did commit to a certain level of activity. The results have important implications for how one should interpret the empirical studies of the effects of merger enforcement. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. and the Editorial Board of The Journal of Industrial Economics.

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  • Lars Sørgard, 2009. "OPTIMAL MERGER POLICY: ENFORCEMENT VS. DETERRENCE -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 438-456, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jindec:v:57:y:2009:i:3:p:438-456

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Carmen Matutes & Pierre Regibeau, 1988. ""Mix and Match": Product Compatibility without Network Externalities," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(2), pages 221-234, Summer.
    6. Chou, Chien-fu & Shy, Oz, 1990. "Network effects without network externalities," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 259-270, June.
    7. Clements, Matthew T., 2004. "Direct and indirect network effects: are they equivalent?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 633-645, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lars Sorgard & Andreea Cosnita-Langlais, 2013. "Enforcement vs Deterrence in Merger Control: Can Remedies Lead to Lower Welfare?," Post-Print hal-01668416, HAL.
    2. Cosnita-Langlais, Andreea & Tropeano, Jean-Philippe, 2013. "Fight cartels or control mergers? On the optimal allocation of enforcement efforts within competition policy," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 34-40.
    3. Redkina, Anastasia & Lagodyuk, Ekaterina, 2016. "The deterrent effect of Russian control of mergers: An Empirical Study," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 79-104, February.

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