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Scale Economies and Synergies in Horizontal Merger Analysis


  • Farrell, Joseph
  • Shapiro, Carl


Three years ago, the Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission revised their Horizontal Merger Guidelines to articulate in greater detail how they would treat claims of efficiencies associated with horizontal mergers: claims that are frequently made, as for instance in the recently proposed merger between Heinz and Beech-Nut in the market for baby food. While these revisions to the Guidelines have a solid economic basis, they leave open many questions, both in theory and in practice. In this essay, we evaluate some aspects of the treatment of efficiencies, based on three years of enforcement experience under the revised Guidelines, including several litigated mergers, and based on economic principles drawn from oligopoly theory regarding cost savings, competition, and consumer welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Farrell, Joseph & Shapiro, Carl, 2000. "Scale Economies and Synergies in Horizontal Merger Analysis," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt8v1500b8, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:compol:qt8v1500b8

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1998. "Stronger protection or technological revolution: what is behind the recent surge in patenting?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 247-304, June.
    2. Bronwyn H. Hall and Marie Ham., 1999. "The Patent Paradox Revisited: Determinants of Patenting in the US Semiconductor Industry, 1980-94," Economics Working Papers E99-268, University of California at Berkeley.
    3. Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1997. "Antitrust Issues in the Licensing of Intellectual Property: The Nine No-No's Meet the Nineties," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1997 Micr), pages 283-349.
    4. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Shapiro, Carl, 1989. "Theories of oligopoly behavior," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 329-414 Elsevier.
    6. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Ham Ziedonis, Rosemarie, 1999. "Patent Paradox Revisited: Determinants of Patenting in the U.S. Semiconductor Industry, 1980-94," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt1rg1088v, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    7. Michael L. Katz & Carl Shapiro, 1985. "On the Licensing of Innovations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(4), pages 504-520, Winter.
    8. Michael L. Katz & Carl Shapiro, 1994. "Systems Competition and Network Effects," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 93-115, Spring.
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    More about this item


    competition; FTC; horizontal merger guidelines; mergers; no-synergies efficiencies; synergy;

    JEL classification:

    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation


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