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The Effect of Mergers on Consumer Prices: Evidence from Five Selected Case Studies

  • Orley Ashenfelter

    (Princeton University)

  • Daniel Hosken

    (Federal Trade Commission)

In this paper we propose a method to evaluate the effectiveness of U.S. horizontal merger policy and apply it to the study of five recent consumer product mergers. We selected the mergers from those that, from the public record, seemed to be most problematic for the antitrust agencies. Thus we estimate an upper bound on the likely price effect of completed mergers. Our study employs retail scanner data and uses familiar panel data program evaluation procedures to measure price changes. Our results indicate that four of the five mergers resulted in some increases in consumer prices, while the fifth merger had little effect.

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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 1037.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pri:cepsud:160ashenfelter
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  1. Sproul, Michael F, 1993. "Antitrust and Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 741-54, August.
  2. Hendel, Igal & Nevo, Aviv, 2001. "Sales and Consumer Inventory," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt11x3d68b, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Kim, E Han & Singal, Vijay, 1993. "Mergers and Market Power: Evidence from the Airline Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 549-69, June.
  4. Dario Focarelli & Fabio Panetta, 2003. "Are Mergers Beneficial to Consumers? Evidence from the Market for Bank Deposits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1152-1172, September.
  5. Peters, Craig, 2006. "Evaluating the Performance of Merger Simulation: Evidence from the U.S. Airline Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(2), pages 627-49, October.
  6. Aviv Nevo, 2000. "Mergers with Differentiated Products: The Case of the Ready-to-Eat Cereal Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(3), pages 395-421, Autumn.
  7. Barton, David M & Sherman, Roger, 1984. "The Price and Profit Effects of Horizontal Merger: A Case Study," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(2), pages 165-77, December.
  8. Robert W. Crandall & Clifford Winston, 2005. "Does antitrust policy improve consumer welfare? Assessing the evidence," Chapters, in: Governments, Competition and Utility Regulation, chapter 2 Edward Elgar.
  9. Ashenfelter, Orley & Card, David, 1985. "Using the Longitudinal Structure of Earnings to Estimate the Effect of Training Programs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 648-60, November.
  10. Robert H. Porter & J. Douglas Zona, 1997. "Ohio School Milk Markets: An Analysis of Bidding," NBER Working Papers 6037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
  12. 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.
  13. Mark J. McCabe, 2002. "Journal Pricing and Mergers: A Portfolio Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 259-269, March.
  14. Steven T. Berry & Joel Waldfogel, 2001. "Do Mergers Increase Product Variety? Evidence From Radio Broadcasting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 1009-1025, August.
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  16. Vita, Michael G & Sacher, Seth, 2001. "The Competitive Effects of Not-for-Profit Hospital Mergers: A Case Study," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 63-84, March.
  17. Block, Michael Kent & Nold, Frederick Carl, 1981. "The Deterrent Effect of Antitrust Enforcement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 429-45, June.
  18. Prager, Robin A & Hannan, Timothy H, 1998. "Do Substantial Horizontal Mergers Generate Significant Price Effects? Evidence from the Banking Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 433-52, December.
  19. Jonathan B. Baker, 2003. "The Case for Antitrust Enforcement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 27-50, Fall.
  20. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
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  22. Newmark, Craig M, 1988. "Is Antitrust Enforcement Effective? Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1315-28, December.
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