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The Effect of Mergers on Consumer Prices: Evidence from Five Mergers on the Enforcement Margin

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  • Orley Ashenfelter
  • Daniel Hosken

Abstract

In this paper we propose a method to evaluate the effectiveness of U.S. horizontal merger policy and apply it to the study of five recently consummated consumer products mergers. We select the mergers from those that, from the public record, seem most likely to be problematic. Thus, we estimate an upper bound on the likely price effect of completed mergers. Our study employs retail scanner data and uses familiar panel data program evaluation procedures to measure price changes. Our results indicate that four of the five mergers resulted in some increases in consumer prices, while the fifth merger had little effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Orley Ashenfelter & Daniel Hosken, 2010. "The Effect of Mergers on Consumer Prices: Evidence from Five Mergers on the Enforcement Margin," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages 417-466.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/605092
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    Cited by:

    1. Nilsen, Øivind Anti & Sørgard, Lars & Ulsaker, Simen A., 2016. "Upstream merger in a successive oligopoly: Who pays the price?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 143-172.
    2. Gugler, Klaus & Szücs, Florian, 2016. "Merger externalities in oligopolistic markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 230-254.
    3. Emilie Dargaud & Carlo Reggiani, 2015. "On The Price Effects Of Horizontal Mergers: A Theoretical Interpretation," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 236-255, July.
    4. Ralph Siebert, 2017. "Heterogeneous Merger Impacts on Competitive Outcomes," CESifo Working Paper Series 6607, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Emilie Dargaud, 2013. "Horizontal mergers, efficiency gains and remedies," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 349-372, October.
    6. Marie-Laure Allain & Claire Chambolle & Stéphane Turolla & Sofia Villas-Boas, 2013. "The Impact of Retail Mergers on Food Prices: Evidence from France," Working Papers hal-00920460, HAL.
    7. 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.
    8. Orley Ashenfelter & Daniel Hosken & Matthew Weinberg, 2014. "Did Robert Bork Understate the Competitive Impact of Mergers? Evidence from Consummated Mergers," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(S3), pages 67-100.
    9. Tomaso Duso & Florian Szücs & Veit Böckers, 2017. "Abuse of Dominance and Antitrust Enforcement in the German Electricity Market," CESifo Working Paper Series 6681, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Miravete, Eugenio J & Seim, Katja & Thurk, Jeff, 2013. "Complexity, Efficiency, and Fairness of Multi-Product Monopoly Pricing," CEPR Discussion Papers 9641, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Luke Garrod & Bruce Lyons, 2016. "Early Settlement in European Merger Control," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(1), pages 27-63, March.
    12. Koski, Heli & Pajarinen, Mika, 2013. "Empirical Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Competition Policy," ETLA Working Papers 15, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    13. Buettner, Thomas & Federico, Giulio & Lorincz, Szabolcs, 2016. "The Use of Quantitative Economic Techniques in EU Merger Control," MPRA Paper 76384, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Stephen Martin, 2012. "Market Structure and Market Performance," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 40(2), pages 87-108, March.
    15. Koch, Thomas G. & Wendling, Brett W. & Wilson, Nathan E., 2017. "How vertical integration affects the quantity and cost of care for Medicare beneficiaries," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 19-32.
    16. repec:bla:jindec:v:65:y:2017:i:3:p:469-509 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Grigolon, Laura & Leheyda, Nina & Verboven, Frank, 2016. "Scrapping subsidies during the financial crisis — Evidence from Europe," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 41-59.
    18. Friberg, Richard & Romahn, André, 2015. "Divestiture requirements as a tool for competition policy: A case from the Swedish beer market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 1-18.
    19. De Nijs, Romain, 2012. "The price discrimination effect of a large merger of parking garages," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 928-931.
    20. Gugler, Klaus & Szücs, Florian, 2013. "Spillover effects in oligopolistic markets," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79905, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    21. John Kwoka, Chengyan Gu, . "Predicting Merger Outcomes: The Accuracy of Stock Market Event Studies, Market Structure Characteristics, and Agency Decisions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(3).
    22. Joseph Farrell & Paul Pautler & Michael Vita, 2009. "Economics at the FTC: Retrospective Merger Analysis with a Focus on Hospitals," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 35(4), pages 369-385, December.
    23. repec:kap:revind:v:52:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11151-017-9608-6 is not listed on IDEAS

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