IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

An Experimental Approach to Merger Evaluation

  • Christopher T. Conlon
  • Julie Holland Mortimer

The 2010 Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission Horizontal Merger Guidelines lay out a new standard for assessing proposed mergers in markets with differentiated products. This new standard is based on a measure of ``upward pricing pressure,'' (UPP) and the calculation of a ``gross upward pricing pressure index'' (GUPPI) in turn relies on a ``diversion ratio,'' which measures the fraction of consumers of one product that switch to another product when the price of the first product increases. One way to calculate a diversion ratio is to estimate own- and cross-price elasticities. An alternative (and more direct) way to gain insight into diversion is to exogenously remove a product from the market and observe the set of products to which consumers actually switch. In the past, economists have rarely had the ability to experiment in this way, but more recently, the growth of digital and online markets, combined with enhanced IT, has improved our ability to conduct such experiments. In this paper, we analyze the snack food market, in which mergers and acquisitions have been especially active in recent years. We exogenously remove six top-selling products (either singly or in pairs) from vending machines and analyze subsequent changes in consumers' purchasing patterns, firm profits, diversion ratios, and upward pricing pressure. Using both nonparametric analyses and structural demand estimation, we find significant diversion to remaining products. Both diversion and the implied upward pricing pressure differ significantly across manufacturers, and we identify cases in which the GUPPI would imply increased regulatory scrutiny of a proposed merger.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19703.pdf
Download Restriction: Access to the full text is generally limited to series subscribers, however if the top level domain of the client browser is in a developing country or transition economy free access is provided. More information about subscriptions and free access is available at http://www.nber.org/wwphelp.html. Free access is also available to older working papers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19703.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19703
Note: IO
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Liran Einav & Jonathan Levin, 2010. "Empirical Industrial Organization: A Progress Report," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 145-62, Spring.
  2. Christopher T. Conlon & Julie Holland Mortimer, 2010. "Effects of Product Availability: Experimental Evidence," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 798, Boston College Department of Economics.
  3. Christopher A. Sims, 2010. "But Economics Is Not an Experimental Science," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 59-68, Spring.
  4. Nevo, Aviv, 1999. "Measuring Market Power in the Ready-to-Eat Cereal Industry," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt7cm5p858, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  5. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2010. "The credibility revolution in empirical economics: how better research design is taking the con out of econometrics," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 48898, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. James J. Heckman, 2010. "Building Bridges Between Structural and Program Evaluation Approaches to Evaluating Policy," NBER Working Papers 16110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Aviv Nevo & Michael D. Whinston, 2010. "Taking the Dogma out of Econometrics: Structural Modeling and Credible Inference," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 69-82, Spring.
  8. Steven T. Berry & Philip A. Haile, 2009. "Nonparametric Identification of Multinomial Choice Demand Models with Heterogeneous Consumers," NBER Working Papers 15276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Sonia Jaffe & E. Glen Weyl, 2013. "The First-Order Approach to Merger Analysis," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 188-218, November.
  10. James H. Stock, 2010. "The Other Transformation in Econometric Practice: Robust Tools for Inference," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 83-94, Spring.
  11. Michael P. Keane, 2010. "A Structural Perspective on the Experimentalist School," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 47-58, Spring.
  12. Nathan H. Miller & Conor Ryan & Marc Remer & Gloria Sheu, 2012. "Approximating the Price Effects of Mergers: Numerical Evidence and an Empirical Application," EAG Discussions Papers 201208, Department of Justice, Antitrust Division.
  13. Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19703. 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: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.