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An empirical assessment of the 2004 EU merger policy reform

  • Duso, Tomaso
  • Gugler, Klaus
  • Szücs, Florian

We propose a general framework to assess merger policy effectiveness based on standard oligopoly theory and stock market reactions. We focus on four different dimensions of effectiveness: 1) legal certainty, 2) decision errors, 3) reversion of anti-competitive rents, and 4) deterrence. We apply this framework to 368 merger cases scrutinized by the European Commission (EC) between 1990 and 2007. To evaluate the economic impact of the change in European merger legislation, we compare the results of the four tests before and after its introduction in 2004. Our results suggest that the 'more economic approach' resulted in improved ex-ante predictability of decisions and a reduction of the frequency of type I errors. Merger policy enforcement deters anti-competitive mergers without over-deterring pro-competitive transactions. Yet, the policy shift away from prohibitions, which are effective as a policy tool and as a deterrent mechanism, does not seem to be well-grounded.

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Paper provided by Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) in its series DICE Discussion Papers with number 58.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:dicedp:58
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  2. Stillman, Robert, 1983. "Examining antitrust policy towards horizontal mergers," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-4), pages 225-240, April.
  3. Clougherty, Joseph & Duso, Tomaso, 2008. "The impact of horizontal mergers on rivals: Gains to being left outside a merger," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 239, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
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  10. Duso, Tomaso & Gugler, Klaus & Yurtoglu, Burcin, 2010. "Is the event study methodology useful for merger analysis? A comparison of stock market and accounting data," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 186-192, June.
  11. Bergman, Mats A. & Jakobsson, Maria & Razo, Carlos, 2003. "An Econometric Analysis of the European Commission's Merger Decisions," Working Paper Series 2003:6, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
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