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Ex ante or ex post competition policy? A progress report

Author

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  • Ottaviani, Marco
  • Wickelgren, Abraham L.

Abstract

When intervening in markets, say to block a merger, competition authorities are constrained by the limited information they have about the social desirability of the available alternatives. Compared to ex ante control, ex post control is based on the more accurate information that becomes available in the intervening period, but entails temporary losses to social welfare and reversal costs incurred to unscramble the eggs. Through a toy model, we identify situations in which the competition authority finds it optimal to commit to forego the option of ex post review in order to avoid chilling ex ante socially beneficial mergers. On the other hand, the case for ex post review is strengthened if post-merger market conducts can signal the merged firm's private information about the consequences of the merger.

Suggested Citation

  • Ottaviani, Marco & Wickelgren, Abraham L., 2011. "Ex ante or ex post competition policy? A progress report," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 356-359, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:29:y:2011:i:3:p:356-359
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Loss, Frederic & Malavolti-Grimal, Estelle & Verge, Thibaud & Berges-Sennou, Fabian, 2008. "European competition policy modernization: From notifications to legal exception," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 77-98, January.
    2. Johnson, Ronald N & Parkman, Allen M, 1991. "Premerger Notification and the Incentive to Merge and Litigate," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 145-162, Spring.
    3. Besanko, David & Spulber, Daniel F, 1993. "Contested Mergers and Equilibrium Antitrust Policy," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-29, April.
    4. Elzinga, Kenneth G, 1969. "The Antimerger Law: Pyrrhic Victories?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(1), pages 43-78, April.
    5. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
    6. Bruno Strulovici, 2010. "Learning While Voting: Determinants of Collective Experimentation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 933-971, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Le Pape, Nicolas & Zhao, Kai, 2014. "Horizontal mergers and uncertainty," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 8, pages 1-31.
    2. Andreea Cosnita-Langlais & Jean-Philippe Tropeano, 2013. "Ex post or ex ante? On the optimal timing of merger control," EconomiX Working Papers 2013-22, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.

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