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Market power, efficiencies, and entry: Evidence from an airline merger


  • Hüschelrath, Kai
  • Müller, Kathrin


We investigate the competitive effects of the merger between Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines (2009) in the domestic U.S. airline industry. Applying fixed effects regression models we find that the transaction led to short term price increases of about 11 percent on overlapping routes and about 10 percent on routes which experienced a merger-induced switch of the operating carrier. Over a longer period, however, our analysis reveals that both merger efficiencies and post-merger entry by competitors initiated a downward trend in prices leaving consumers with a small net price increase of about 3 percent on the affected routes.

Suggested Citation

  • Hüschelrath, Kai & Müller, Kathrin, 2012. "Market power, efficiencies, and entry: Evidence from an airline merger," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-070, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:12070

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Volodymyr Bilotkach, 2011. "Multimarket Contact and Intensity of Competition: Evidence from an Airline Merger," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 38(1), pages 95-115, January.
    2. Lars-Hendrik Röller & Johan Stennek & Frank Verboven, 2006. "Efficiency Gains from Mergers," Chapters,in: European Merger Control, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. John Kwoka & Evgenia Shumilkina, 2010. "The Price Effect Of Eliminating Potential Competition: Evidence From An Airline Merger," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(4), pages 767-793, December.
    4. Spector, David, 2003. "Horizontal mergers, entry, and efficiency defences," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(10), pages 1591-1600, December.
    5. Farrell, Joseph & Shapiro, Carl, 1990. "Horizontal Mergers: An Equilibrium Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 107-126, March.
    6. 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 549-569, June.
    7. Nisvan Erkal & Daniel Piccinin, 2010. "Welfare-Reducing Mergers in Differentiated Oligopolies with Free Entry," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(273), pages 178-184, June.
    8. Brueckner, Jan K. & Proost, Stef, 2010. "Carve-outs under airline antitrust immunity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 657-668, November.
    9. Steven N. Kaplan, 2000. "Introduction to "Mergers and Productivity"," NBER Chapters,in: Mergers and Productivity, pages 1-8 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Cabral, Luis M. B., 2003. "Horizontal mergers with free-entry: why cost efficiencies may be a weak defense and asset sales a poor remedy," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 607-623, May.
    11. Whinston, Michael D., 2007. "Antitrust Policy toward Horizontal Mergers," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
    12. Froeb, Luke M. & Werden, Gregory J., 1998. "A robust test for consumer welfare enhancing mergers among sellers of a homogeneous product," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 367-369, March.
    13. Borenstein, Severin, 1990. "Airline Mergers, Airport Dominance, and Market Power," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 400-404, May.
    14. Werden, Gregory J & Froeb, Luke M, 1998. "The Entry-Inducing Effects of Horizontal Mergers: An Exploratory Analysis," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 525-543, December.
    15. Steven N. Kaplan, 2000. "Mergers and Productivity," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kapl00-1, January.
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    More about this item


    airline industry; merger; market power; efficiencies; entry-inducing effects;

    JEL classification:

    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General
    • L93 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Air Transportation

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