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Uncertain Efficiency Gains and Merger Policy

  • Mariana Cunha


    (FEP-UP, School of Economics and Management, University of Porto)

  • Paula Sarmento


    (FEP-UP, CEF-UP)

  • Hélder Vasconcelos



This paper studies the role of uncertainty in merger control and in merger decisions. In a Cournot setting, we consider that mergers may give rise to uncertain endogenous efficiency gains and that every merger has to be submitted for approval to the Antitrust Authority (AA). We assume that both the AA and the firms in the industry face the same uncertainty about the future efficiency gains induced by the merger. It is shown that an increase in the degree of uncertainty benefits both insider and outsider firms but also the consumers. Further, when uncertainty is high, there is a greater likelihood that firms propose a merger to the AA and that the AA accepts it. Interestingly, however, although uncertainty enhances merger approval chances, it also decreases merger's stability, by increasing outsiders' incentives to free-ride on it.

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Paper provided by Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto in its series FEP Working Papers with number 527.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:527
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  5. Raith, Michael, 1996. "A General Model of Information Sharing in Oligopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 260-288, October.
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  7. AMIR, Rabah & DIAMANTOUDI, Effrosyni & XUE, Licun, 2008. "Merger Performance under Uncertain Efficiency Gains," Cahiers de recherche 09-2008, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  8. Gal-Or, Esther, 1988. "The Informational Advantages or Disadvantages of Horizontal Mergers," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 29(4), pages 639-61, November.
  9. Jensen, Richard, 1992. "Innovation Adoption and Welfare under Uncertainty," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 173-80, June.
  10. Zhou, Wen, 2008. "Endogenous horizontal mergers under cost uncertainty," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 903-912, July.
  11. 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.
  12. Massimo MOTTA & Helder VASCONCELOS, 2003. "Efficiency Gains and Myopic Antitrust Authority in a Dynamic Merger Game," Economics Working Papers ECO2003/23, European University Institute.
  13. Richard N. Clarke, 1983. "Collusion and the Incentives for Information Sharing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 383-394, Autumn.
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  15. Röller, Lars-Hendrik & Stennek, Johan & Verboven, Frank, 2000. "Efficiency Gains from Mergers," Working Paper Series 543, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  16. Horn, Henrik & Persson, Lars, 1999. "The Equilibrium Ownership of an International Oligopoly," CEPR Discussion Papers 2302, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Gal-Or, Esther, 1986. "Information Transmission-Cournot and Bertrand Equilibria," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 85-92, January.
  18. Sakai, Yasuhiro, 1985. "The value of information in a simple duopoly model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 36-54, June.
  19. Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Exchange of Cost Information in Oligopoly," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 433-46, July.
  20. Vasconcelos, Helder, 2007. "Efficiency Gains and Structural Remedies in Merger Control," CEPR Discussion Papers 6093, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Jovanovic, Dragan & Wey, Christian, 2012. "An equilibrium analysis of efficiency gains from mergers," DICE Discussion Papers 64, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  22. Kit Pong Wong & Tse, Maurice K. S., 1997. "Mergers and investments in cost reduction with private information revisited," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 629-634, August.
  23. 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.
  24. Le Pape, Nicolas & Zhao, Kai, 2013. "Horizontal mergers and uncertainty," Economics Discussion Papers 2013-62, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  25. Gal-Or, Esther, 1985. "Information Sharing in Oligopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 329-43, March.
  26. Stenbacka, L. Rune, 1991. "Mergers and investments in cost reduction with private information," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 397-405, September.
  27. William Novshek & Hugo Sonnenschein, 1982. "Fulfilled Expectations Cournot Duopoly with Information Acquisition and Release," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 214-218, Spring.
  28. Qiu, Larry D. & Zhou, Wen, 2006. "International mergers: Incentives and welfare," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 38-58, January.
  29. Eleanor Morgan, 2001. "Innovation and Merger Decisions in the Pharmaceutical Industry," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 181-197, September.
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