Consumer Surplus as the Appropriate Standard for Antitrust Enforcement
In antitrust enforcement as in cost-benefit analysis, neoclassical economics may be interpreted as arguing for the use of a “total welfare” standard whose implementation treats transfers as welfare-neutral. Several recent papers call for antitrust agencies to move in the direction of this version of a total welfare standard for enforcement. However, as Williamson (1968) noted, horizontal mergers typically result in transfers that may greatly exceed in magnitude any deadweight loss or efficiency gain, so that a decision to ignore transfers may be quite important. I argue that such transfers are likely overall to be quite regressive, and thus that a consumer surplus standard rather than a total welfare standard may be appropriate for antitrust. Two common arguments against this standard – that most mergers are in markets for intermediate goods, and that a consumer welfare standard implies a tolerance for monopsony – are examined and found wanting. I argue in addition that, even if a total welfare standard is used, both the finance literature on merger outcomes and the structure of the U.S. enforcement agencies suggest that the use of a consumer surplus standard by the agencies is more likely to achieve that goal.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2007|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.justice.gov/atr/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Mandelker, Gershon, 1974. "Risk and return: The case of merging firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 303-335, December.
- Albert A. Foer, 2006. "The Goals of Antitrust: Thoughts on Consumer Welfare in the US," Chapters, in: Handbook of Research in Trans-Atlantic Antitrust, chapter 21 Edward Elgar.
- Baker, Jonathan B & Shapiro, Carl, 2007. "Reinvigorating Horizontal Merger Enforcement," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt4x44j66x, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Coate, Malcolm B & Higgins, Richard S & McChesney, Fred S, 1990. "Bureaucracy and Politics in FTC Merger Challenges," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 463-82, October.
- Dennis W. Carlton, 2007.
"Does Antitrust Need to be Modernized?,"
EAG Discussions Papers
200703, Department of Justice, Antitrust Division.
- Fridolfsson, Sven-Olof, 2007. "A Consumer Surplus Defense in Merger Control," Working Paper Series 686, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
- Bargeron, Leonce & Schlingemann, Frederick & Stulz, Rene & Zutter, Chad, 2007.
"Why Do Private Acquirers Pay So Little Compared to Public Acquirers?,"
Working Paper Series
2007-8, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
- Bargeron, Leonce L. & Schlingemann, Frederik P. & Stulz, René M. & Zutter, Chad J., 2008. "Why do private acquirers pay so little compared to public acquirers?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(3), pages 375-390, September.
- Leonce Bargeron & Frederik Schlingemann & Rene M. Stulz & Chad Zutter, 2007. "Why Do Private Acquirers Pay So Little Compared to Public Acquirers?," NBER Working Papers 13061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1988. "Value Maximization and the Acquisition Process," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 7-20, Winter.
- Farrell, Joseph & Katz, Michael L, 2006. "The Economics of Welfare Standards in Antitrust," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt1tw2d426, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Damien J. NEVEN & Lars-Hendrik RÖLLER, 2000.
"Consumer Surplus vs. Welfare Standard in a Political Economy Model of Merger Control,"
Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP)
00.24, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
- 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.
- Neven, Damien J & Röller, Lars-Hendrik, 2000. "Consumer Surplus vs. Welfare Standard in a Political Economy Model of Merger Control," CEPR Discussion Papers 2620, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- 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).
- Gregor Andrade & Mark Mitchell & Erik Stafford, 2001. "New Evidence and Perspectives on Mergers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 103-120, Spring.
- F. Scherer, 2006. "A New Retrospective on Mergers," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 327-341, June.
- Louis Kaplow & Carl Shapiro, 2007.
NBER Working Papers
12867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Röller, Lars-Hendrik & Stennek, Johan & Verboven, Frank, 2000.
"Efficiency Gains from Mergers,"
Working Paper Series
543, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
- Roll, Richard, 1986. "The Hubris Hypothesis of Corporate Takeovers," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(2), pages 197-216, April.
- Pittman, Russell W, 1990. "Railroads and Competition: The Santa Fe/Southern Pacific Merger Proposal," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 25-46, September.
- Amihud, Yakov & Lev, Baruch & Travlos, Nickolaos G, 1990. " Corporate Control and the Choice of Investment Financing: The Case of Corporate Acquisitions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 603-16, June.
- Louis Kaplow, 2004. "On the (Ir)Relevance of Distribution and Labor Supply Distortion to Government Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 159-175, Fall.
- Gary Gorton & Matthias Kahl & Richard Rosen, 2005. "Eat or Be Eaten: A Theory of Mergers and Merger Waves," NBER Working Papers 11364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Harberger, Arnold C, 1971. "Three Basic Postulates for Applied Welfare Economics: An Interpretive Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 785-97, September.
- Raghavendra Rau, P. & Vermaelen, Theo, 1998. "Glamour, value and the post-acquisition performance of acquiring firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 223-253, August.
- Vijay Gondhalekar & R. Raymond Sant & Stephen Ferris, 2004. "The price of corporate acquisition: determinants of cash takeover premia," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(12), pages 735-739.
- Kenneth Heyer, 2006. "Welfare Standards and Merger Analysis: Why not the Best?," EAG Discussions Papers 200608, Department of Justice, Antitrust Division.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:doj:eagpap:200709. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Tung Vu)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.