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The Insiders' Dilemma: An Experiment on Merger Formation


  • Lindqvist, Tobias

    (The Research Institute of Industrial Economics)

  • Stennek, Johan

    (The Research Institute of Industrial Economics)


This paper tests the insiders' dilemma hypothesis in a laboratory experiment. The insiders' dilemma means that a profitable merger does not occur, because it is even more profitable for each firm to unilaterally stand as an outsider (Kamien and Zang, 1990 and 1993). The experimental data provides support for the insiders' dilemma, and thereby for endogenous rather than exogenous merger theory. More surprisingly, our data suggests that fairness considerations also make profitable mergers difficult. Mergers that should occur in equilibrium do not, since they require an unequal split of surplus.

Suggested Citation

  • Lindqvist, Tobias & Stennek, Johan, 2001. "The Insiders' Dilemma: An Experiment on Merger Formation," Working Paper Series 563, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0563

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 2000. "Does information about competitors' actions increase or decrease competition in experimental oligopoly markets?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 39-57, January.
    2. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    3. Horn, Henrik & Persson, Lars, 2001. "Endogenous mergers in concentrated markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(8), pages 1213-1244, September.
    4. Armando Gomes, "undated". "A Theory of Negotiations and Formation of Coalitions," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 21-99, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    5. Kamien, Morton I. & Zang, Israel, 1991. "Competitively cost advantageous mergers and monopolization," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 323-338, August.
    6. Fridolfsson, Sven-Olof & Stennek, Johan, 2005. "Hold-up of anti-competitive mergers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(9-10), pages 753-775, December.
    7. Eckbo, B. Espen, 1983. "Horizontal mergers, collusion, and stockholder wealth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-4), pages 241-273, April.
    8. Stephen W. Salant & Sheldon Switzer & Robert J. Reynolds, 1983. "Losses From Horizontal Merger: The Effects of an Exogenous Change in Industry Structure on Cournot-Nash Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(2), pages 185-199.
    9. 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.
    10. Fridolfsson, Sven-Olof & Stennek, Johan, 2000. "Why Event Studies Do Not Detect Anti-Competitive Mergers," Working Paper Series 542, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    11. Szidarovszky, F. & Yakowitz, S., 1982. "Contributions to Cournot oligopoly theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 51-70, October.
    12. Davis, Douglas D., 2002. "Strategic interactions, market information and predicting the effects of mergers in differentiated product markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(9), pages 1277-1312, November.
    13. Kamien, Morton I & Zang, Israel, 1993. "Monopolization by Sequential Acquisition," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 205-229, October.
    14. repec:hhs:iuiwop:542 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Morton I. Kamien & Israel Zang, 1990. "The Limits of Monopolization Through Acquisition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 465-499.
    16. Raymond Deneckere & Carl Davidson, 1985. "Incentives to Form Coalitions with Bertrand Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(4), pages 473-486, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jose Apesteguia & Martin Dufwenberg & Reinhard Selten, 2007. "Blowing the Whistle," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 31(1), pages 143-166, April.
    2. Granier, Laurent & Podesta, Marion, 2010. "Bundling and Mergers in Energy Markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1316-1324, November.
    3. Berardino Cesi, 2010. "Horizontal Mergers: A Solution Of The Insiders' Dilemma," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 171-180, April.
    4. Lindqvist, Tobias, 2004. "Mergers by Partial Acquisition," Working Paper Series 630, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    5. James Gaisford & Stefan Lutz, 2007. "A Multi-Product Framework Generating Waves of Mergers and Divestitures," ICER Working Papers 36-2007, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
    6. Fumagalli, Eileen & Nilssen, Tore, 2008. "Waiting to Merge," Memorandum 13/2008, Oslo University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Coalition Formation; Experiment; Insiders' Dilemma; Mergers; Antitrust;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • 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

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