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Can the Failing Firm Defense Rule be Counterproductive?

  • Vasconcelos, Helder

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.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8878.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8878
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  1. Persson, Lars, 2001. "Predation and Mergers: Is Merger Law Counterproductive?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2734, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Farrell, Joseph & Shapiro, Carl, 1988. "Horizontal Mergers: An Equilibrium Analysis," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt0tp305nx, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Lars Persson, 2005. "The Failing Firm Defense," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 175-201, 06.
  4. Damien J. Neven & Lars-Hendrik Röller, 2000. "Consumer Surplus vs. Welfare Standard in a Political Economy Model of Merger Control," CIG Working Papers FS IV 00-15, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  5. Perry, Martin K & Porter, Robert H, 1985. "Oligopoly and the Incentive for Horizontal Merger," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 219-27, March.
  6. Vasconcelos, Helder, 2007. "Efficiency Gains and Structural Remedies in Merger Control," CEPR Discussion Papers 6093, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Horn, Henrik & Persson, Lars, 2001. "The equilibrium ownership of an international oligopoly," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 307-333, April.
  8. Motta, Massimo & Vasconcelos, Helder, 2004. "Efficiency Gains and Myopic Antitrust Authority in a Dynamic Merger Game," CEPR Discussion Papers 4175, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Garth Saloner, 1987. "Predation, Mergers, and Incomplete Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 165-186, Summer.
  10. Yamey, B S, 1972. "Predatory Price Cutting: Notes and Comments," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 129-42, April.
  11. 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.
  12. Gautam Gowrisankaran, 1999. "A Dynamic Model of Endogenous Horizonal Mergers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(1), pages 56-83, Spring.
  13. Helder Vasconcelos, 2005. "Tacit Collusion, Cost Asymmetries, and Mergers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(1), pages 39-62, Spring.
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