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Strategic Buyers, Horizontal Mergers and Synergies: An Experimental Investigation

  • Douglas D. Davis


    (Department of Economics, VCU School of Business)

  • Bart J. Wilson


    (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, George Mason University)

This paper reports an experiment designed to evaluate interrelationships between strategic buyers, market power and merger-induced synergies. The experiment consists of 40 posted-offer quadropolies. Treatments include the use of simulated or human buyers, seller consolidations and merger-induced fixed cost and unit cost synergies. In the simulated-buyer markets we observe behavior generally consistent with comparative static predictions: prices rise post-merger, and unit (but not fixed) cost synergies may exert some price-moderating effect. The addition of powerful buyers changes results markedly. Although prices are lower in the human buyer markets, outcomes are more variable and predicted comparative static effects are no longer observed.

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Paper provided by VCU School of Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0601.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vcu:wpaper:0601
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  1. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Organizational Design and Technology Choice under Intrafirm Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 195-222, March.
  2. Dobson, Paul W & Waterson, Michael, 1997. "Countervailing Power and Consumer Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 418-30, March.
  3. Jim Engle-Warnick & Bradley Ruffle, 2002. "Buyer Countervailing Power versus Monopoly Power: Evidence from Experimental Posted-Offer Markets," Economics Papers 2002-W14, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  4. Chipty, Tasneem, 1995. "Horizontal Integration for Bargaining Power: Evidence from the Cable Television Industry," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 375-97, Summer.
  5. Tilman Slembeck, 1999. "Reputations and Fairness in Bargaining - Experimental Evidence from a Repeated Ultimatum Game With Fixed Opponents," Experimental 9905002, EconWPA.
  6. Roman Inderst & Christian Wey, 2001. "Bargaining, Mergers, and Technology Choice in Bilaterally Oligopolistic Industries," CIG Working Papers FS IV 01-19, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  7. Osborne, Martin J. & Pitchik, Carolyn, 1986. "Price competition in a capacity-constrained duopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 238-260, April.
  8. Davis, Douglas D & Williams, Arlington W, 1991. "The Hayek Hypothesis in Experimental Auctions: Institutional Effects and Market Power," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 261-74, April.
  9. Hans-Theo Normann & Bradley J. Ruffle & Christopher M. Snyder, 2007. "Do buyer-size discounts depend on the curvature of the surplus function? Experimental tests of bargaining models," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(3), pages 747-767, 09.
  10. 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.
  11. Farrell, Joseph & Shapiro, Carl, 1988. "Horizontal Mergers: An Equilibrium Analysis," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt0tp305nx, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  12. Douglas Davis & Bart Wilson, 2006. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion, Mergers and Synergies: An Experimental Investigation of Differentiated Product Competition," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(2), pages 169-194.
  13. Bradley J. Ruffle, 2000. "Some factors affecting demand withholding in posted-offer markets," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 529-544.
  14. Bart Wilson, 1998. "What Collusion? Unilateral Market Power as a Catalyst for Countercyclical Markups," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 133-145, September.
  15. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Intra-firm Bargaining under Non-binding Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 375-410, July.
  16. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  17. Horn, H. & Wolinsky, A., 1988. "Bilateral Monopolies And Incentives For Merger," Papers 410, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  18. Davis, Douglas D., 2002. "Strategic interactions, market information and predicting the effects of mergers in differentiated product markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(9), pages 1277-1312, November.
  19. Carl Davidson & Raymond Deneckere, 1986. "Long-Run Competition in Capacity, Short-Run Competition in Price, and the Cournot Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
  20. Dan Kovenock & Raymond J. Deneckere, 1996. "Bertrand-Edgeworth duopoly with unit cost asymmetry (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 1-25.
  21. Tasnadi, Attila, 2004. "Production in advance versus production to order," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 191-204, June.
  22. Douglas Davis & Robert Reilly & Bart Wilson, 2003. "Cost Structures and Nash Play in Repeated Cournot Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 209-226, October.
  23. Werden, Gregory J & Froeb, Luke M, 1994. "The Effects of Mergers in Differentiated Products Industries: Logit Demand and Merger Policy," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 407-26, October.
  24. Davis, Douglas D. & Holt, Charles A., 2008. "The Exercise of Market Power in Laboratory Experiments," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  25. Lustgarten, Steven H, 1975. "The Impact of Buyer Concentration in Manufacturing Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(2), pages 125-32, May.
  26. Davis, Douglas D. & Williams, Arlington W., 1990. "Market power and the institutional asymmetry of the posted offer trading institution," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 211-214, November.
  27. David M. Kreps & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1983. "Quantity Precommitment and Bertrand Competition Yield Cournot Outcomes," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 326-337, Autumn.
  28. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Why free ride? : Strategies and learning in public goods experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, December.
  29. Douglas D. Davis & Bart J. Wilson, 2000. "Firm-specific cost savings and market power," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 545-565.
  30. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
  31. Tasneem Chipty & Christopher M. Snyder, 1999. "The Role Of Firm Size In Bilateral Bargaining: A Study Of The Cable Television Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 326-340, May.
  32. Ketcham, Jon & Smith, Vernon L & Williams, Arlington W, 1984. "A Comparison of Posted-Offer and Double-Auction Pricing Institutions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(4), pages 595-614, October.
  33. Douglas D. Davis & Charles A. Holt, 1994. "Market Power and Mergers in Laboratory Markets with Posted Prices," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(3), pages 467-487, Autumn.
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