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Equilibrium Price Dispersion, Mergers and Synergies: An Experimental Investigation of Differentiated Product Competition

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  • Douglas Davis
  • Bart Wilson

Abstract

This paper reports an experiment conducted to examine market performance and mergers in an asymmetric differentiated product oligopoly. We find that static Nash predictions organize mean market outcomes reasonably well. Markets on average respond to horizontal mergers with price increases as predicted and marginal cost synergies exert the predicted the power-mitigating price effects. Nash predictions, however, organize outcomes for specific markets and for the different firm-types less precisely. The variability of individual markets and firm-level decisions undermine the predictive capacity of merger simulations conducted with the Antitrust Logit Model, a merger device used by US antitrust authorities to help identify problematic mergers.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Davis & Bart Wilson, 2006. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion, Mergers and Synergies: An Experimental Investigation of Differentiated Product Competition," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(2), pages 169-194.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:13:y:2006:i:2:p:169-194
    DOI: 10.1080/13571510600783922
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Smith, Vernon L, 1985. "Experimental Economics: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 264-272, March.
    2. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 2000. "Does information about competitors' actions increase or decrease competition in experimental oligopoly markets?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 39-57, January.
    3. 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 407-426, October.
    4. Werden, G.J. & G.J. & Froeb, L.M., 1995. "Simulation as an Alternative to Structural Merger Policy in Differentiated Products Industries," Papers 95-02, U.S. Department of Justice - Antitrust Division.
    5. Vernon Smith, 2002. "Method in Experiment: Rhetoric and Reality," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 5(2), pages 91-110, October.
    6. Douglas D. Davis & Bart J. Wilson, 2000. "Firm-specific cost savings and market power," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 16(3), pages 545-565.
    7. Bart Wilson, 1998. "What Collusion? Unilateral Market Power as a Catalyst for Countercyclical Markups," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(2), pages 133-145, September.
    8. Davis, Douglas D., 2002. "Strategic interactions, market information and predicting the effects of mergers in differentiated product markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(9), pages 1277-1312, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Davis, Douglas D. & Wilson, Bart J., 2008. "Strategic buyers, horizontal mergers and synergies: An experimental investigation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 643-661, May.
    2. Gomez-Martinez, Francisco, 2016. "Partial Cartels and Mergers with Heterogeneous Firms: Experimental Evidence," MPRA Paper 81132, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Jul 2017.
    3. Gomez-Martinez, Francisco, 2017. "Partial Cartels and Mergers with Heterogenous Firms: Experimental Evidence," EconStor Preprints 169380, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    4. Peeters, Ronald & Strobel, Martin, 2009. "Pricing behavior in asymmetric markets with differentiated products," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 24-32, January.
    5. Hans-Theo Normann & Roberto Ricciuti, 2009. "Laboratory Experiments For Economic Policy Making," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(3), pages 407-432, July.

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