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Can the Failing Firm Defense Rule be Counterproductive?

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  • Vasconcelos, Helder

Abstract

This paper studies the role of the failing firm defense (FFD) concept in merger control in a Cournot setting where: (i) endogenous mergers are motivated by prospective efficiency gains; and (ii) mergers must be submitted to an Antitrust Authority which might require partial divestiture for approval. It is shown that when the FFD concept is available in merger control, firms can strategically embark on a merger which makes other firms fail and then buy over the exiting outsider firm(s), leading to complete monopolization of the industry. This in turn implies that, in some circumstances, the consumers'-surplus-maximizing market structure cannot be achieved if the FFD concept is available, whereas it would be achieved if the FFD concept were ruled out.

Suggested Citation

  • Vasconcelos, Helder, 2012. "Can the Failing Firm Defense Rule be Counterproductive?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8878, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8878
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Persson, Lars, 2004. "Predation and mergers: Is merger law counterproductive?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 239-258, April.
    2. Motta,Massimo, 2004. "Competition Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521016919.
    3. Farrell, Joseph & Shapiro, Carl, 1990. "Horizontal Mergers: An Equilibrium Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 107-126, March.
    4. Helder Vasconcelos, 2010. "Efficiency Gains And Structural Remedies In Merger Control," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(4), pages 742-766, December.
    5. Motta, Massimo & Vasconcelos, Helder, 2005. "Efficiency gains and myopic antitrust authority in a dynamic merger game," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(9-10), pages 777-801, December.
    6. 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.
    7. Neven, Damien J. & Roller, Lars-Hendrik, 2005. "Consumer surplus vs. welfare standard in a political economy model of merger control," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(9-10), pages 829-848, December.
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    10. Mason, Robin & Weeds, Helen, 2002. "The Failing Firm Defence: Merger Policy and Entry," CEPR Discussion Papers 3664, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Horn, Henrik & Persson, Lars, 2001. "The equilibrium ownership of an international oligopoly," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 307-333, April.
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    13. Perry, Martin K & Porter, Robert H, 1985. "Oligopoly and the Incentive for Horizontal Merger," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 219-227, March.
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    15. Gautam Gowrisankaran, 1999. "A Dynamic Model of Endogenous Horizonal Mergers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(1), pages 56-83, Spring.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Efficiency gains; Endogenous mergers; Failing firm defense; Merger review;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

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