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Vertical Integration and Competition Policy

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Abstract

Recently, the European Commission has decided to implement a simplified procedure in the context of vertical integration. If the combined market shares of the merging firms are less than 25 percent, upstream and downstream, the Commission will consider the merger harmless. The purpose of this study is to examine the welfare aspects of vertical integration in a simple model and investigate the accuracy of the proposed rule of thumb. The welfare implications of vertical integration turn out to depend on relative market shares and the degree of product differentiation. Basically, a merger is harmless from a social point of view when the upstream market is relatively concentrated compared to the downstream market and/or if products are sufficiently close substitutes. We therefore suggest an alternative screening rule: If the upstream market is significantly less concentrated than the downstream market, or if products obviously are close substitutes, mergers may be approved at an early stage of the screening process. Otherwise the merger may be detrimental to welfare and the competition authority should evaluate it more carefully.

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  • Häckner, Jonas, 2001. "Vertical Integration and Competition Policy," Research Papers in Economics 2001:1, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2001_0001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Riordan, Michael H, 1998. "Anticompetitive Vertical Integration by a Dominant Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1232-1248, December.
    2. Ordover, Janusz A & Saloner, Garth & Salop, Steven C, 1990. "Equilibrium Vertical Foreclosure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 127-142, March.
    3. Hart, O. & Tirole, J., 1990. "Vertical Integration And Market Foreclosure," Working papers 548, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    4. Hackner, Jonas, 2000. "A Note on Price and Quantity Competition in Differentiated Oligopolies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 233-239, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:indorg:v:55:y:2017:i:c:p:25-57 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Etro, Federico, 2011. "Endogenous market structures and contract theory: Delegation, principal-agent contracts, screening, franchising and tying," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 463-479, May.
    3. Jochen Manegold, 2016. "Stackelberg Competition among Intermediaries in a Differentiated Duopoly with Product Innovation," Working Papers CIE 98, Paderborn University, CIE Center for International Economics.
    4. Belleflamme,Paul & Peitz,Martin, 2015. "Industrial Organization," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107687899, March.
    5. Arijit Mukherjee & Piercarlo Zanchettin, 2012. "Vertical integration and product differentiation," Discussion Papers in Economics 12/17, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, revised Sep 2012.
    6. Ricardo Biscaia & Paula Sarmento, 2013. "Location Decisions in a Natural Resource Model of Cournot Competition," FEP Working Papers 509, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    7. Gelves, J. Alejandro & Heywood, John S., 2016. "Pre-emptive mergers and downstream cost asymmetry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 23-26.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Vertical Integration; Merger; Competition Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L42 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Vertical Restraints; Resale Price Maintenance; Quantity Discounts

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