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Mergers and Product Quality: Evidence from the Airline Industry

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  • Chen, Yongmin
  • Gayle, Philip

Abstract

Retrospective studies of horizontal mergers have focused on their price effects, leaving the important question of how mergers affect product quality largely unanswered. This paper empirically investigates this issue for two recent airline mergers: Delta/Northwest and Continental/United. Consistent with the theoretical premise that mergers improve coordination but diminish competitive pressure for quality provision, we find: (i) each merger is associated with a quality increase in markets where the merging firms did not compete pre-merger, but with a quality decrease in markets where they did; and (ii) the quality change can be a U-shaped function of the pre-merger competition intensity.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Yongmin & Gayle, Philip, 2013. "Mergers and Product Quality: Evidence from the Airline Industry," MPRA Paper 51238, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:51238
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    Cited by:

    1. Bai, Xue-jie & Zeng, Jin & Chiu, Yung-Ho, 2019. "Pre-evaluating efficiency gains from potential mergers and acquisitions based on the resampling DEA approach: Evidence from China's railway sector," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 46-56.
    2. Daniel Rijken & Vincent (V.A.C.) van den Berg, 2017. "The Impact of Airline Mergers on Quality: Why Do Different Mergers Have Such Different Effects?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-079/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. Gayle Philip G. & Thomas Tyson, 2015. "Product Quality Effects of International Airline Alliances, Antitrust Immunity, and Domestic Mergers," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 45-74, March.
    4. Yimga, Jules & Gorjidooz, Javad, 2019. "Airline schedule padding and consumer choice behavior," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 71-79.
    5. Myongjin Kim & Qi Ge & Donggeun Kim, 2021. "Mergers and labor market outcomes in the US airline industry," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(4), pages 849-866, October.
    6. Brueckner, Jan K. & Flores-Fillol, Ricardo, 2020. "Market structure and quality determination for complementary products: Alliances and service quality in the airline industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    7. Chen, Yongmin & Gayle, Philip G., 2019. "Mergers and product quality: Evidence from the airline industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 96-135.
    8. Le Huubinh B. & Yimga Jules, 2019. "Market Power and Marginal Cost Effects in Competing Markets: Evidence from Airline Mergers," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 18(2), pages 63-108, June.
    9. Gayle, Philip G. & Thomas, Tyson, 2016. "Assessing firm behavior in carve-out markets: Evidence on the impact of carve-out policy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 178-194.
    10. Joep van Montfort & Vincent A.C. van den Berg, 2017. "The total size of an airline and the quality of its flights," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-099/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.
    11. Gayle, Philip G. & Yimga, Jules O., 2018. "How much do consumers really value air travel on-time performance, and to what extent are airlines motivated to improve their on-time performance?," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 14(C), pages 31-41.
    12. Yang, Hangjun & Ma, Wenliang & Wang, Qiang & Wang, Kun & Zhang, Yahua, 2020. "Welfare implications for air passengers in China in the era of high-speed rail," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 1-13.
    13. Gil, Ricard & Kim, Myongjin, 2021. "Does competition increase quality? Evidence from the US airline industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    14. Ivaldi, Marc & Zhang, Jiekai, 2020. "Platform Mergers: Lessons from a Case in the Digital TV Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 14895, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Gayle, Philip & Lin, Ying, 2020. "Cost Pass-through in Commercial Aviation: Theory and Evidence," MPRA Paper 102018, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Yimga, Jules, 2017. "Airline on-time performance and its effects on consumer choice behavior," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 12-25.
    17. Fageda, Xavier & Flores-Fillol, Ricardo & Lin, Ming Hsin, 2020. "Vertical differentiation and airline alliances: The effect of antitrust immunity," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mergers; Product Quality; Airlines;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L93 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Air Transportation

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