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Product differentiation, cost-reducing mergers, and consumer welfare

Author

Listed:
  • George Norman
  • Lynne Pepall
  • Daniel Richards

Abstract

Cost synergies are an explicitly recognized justification for a two-firm merger, and empirical techniques are now widely used to assess the impact of cost-reducing mergers on prices and welfare in the post-merger market. We show that if the merger occurs in a vertically product differentiated market, then the merger will lead to a reduction in product offerings that limits the usefulness of pre-merger empirical estimates. Indeed, we further show that in such markets, two-firm mergers will typically lead to higher prices regardless of the merger's cost savings.

Suggested Citation

  • George Norman & Lynne Pepall & Daniel Richards, 2005. "Product differentiation, cost-reducing mergers, and consumer welfare," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1204-1223, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:38:y:2005:i:4:p:1204-1223
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jaskold Gabszewicz, J. & Thisse, J. -F., 1979. "Price competition, quality and income disparities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 340-359, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Lynne M. Pepall, 2002. "The Simple Economics of Brand Stretching," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75(3), pages 535-552, July.
    4. Avner Shaked & John Sutton, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition Through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13.
    5. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
    6. ANDERSON, Simon P. & de PALMA, André & THISSE, Jacques-François, "undated". "Social surplus and profitability under different spatial pricing policies," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1009, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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    Cited by:

    1. Cosnita-Langlais, Andreea, 2012. "Horizontal market concentration: Theoretical insights from spatial models," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 22-32.
    2. Pennerstorfer, Dieter & Weiss, Christoph, 2013. "Spatial clustering and market power: Evidence from the retail gasoline market," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 661-675.
    3. Darlene C. Chisholm & George Norman, 2002. "Spatial Competition and Demand: An Application to Motion Pictures," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0216, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    4. Richard Dagen & Daniel Richards, 2006. "Merger Theory and Evidence: The Baby-Food Case Reconsidered," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0602, Department of Economics, Tufts University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices

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