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Do cartel breakdowns induce mergers? Evidence from EC cartel cases

  • Hüschelrath, Kai
  • Smuda, Florian

We investigate the impact of cartel breakdowns on merger activity. Merging information on cartel cases decided by the European Commission (EC) between 2000 and 2011 with a detailed data set of worldwide merger activity, we find that, first, the average number of all merger transactions increase by up to 51 percent when comparing the three years before the cartel breakdowns with the three years afterwards. Second, for the subset of horizontal mergers, merger activity is found to increase even more - by up to 83 percent - after the cartel breakdowns. Our results not only suggest that competition authorities should consider mergers as potential 'second-best' alternative to cartels but also imply that resource (re)allocations in competition authorities, law practices and economic consultancies may become necessary to handle the increase in merger cases.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 13-036.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:13036
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  1. Volker Nocke & Lucy White, 2007. "Do Vertical Mergers Facilitate Upstream Collusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1321-1339, September.
  2. Gunther Tichy, 2001. "What Do We Know about Success and Failure of Mergers?," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 347-394, December.
  3. Ivaldi, Marc & Jullien, Bruno & Rey, Patrick & Seabright, Paul & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "The Economics of Tacit Collusion," IDEI Working Papers 186, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  4. Andreea Cosnita-Langlais & Jean-Philippe Tropeano, 2011. "Fight Cartels or Control Mergers? On the Optimal Allocation of Enforcement Efforts within Competition Policy," EconomiX Working Papers 2011-18, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  5. Bittlingmayer, George, 1985. "Did Antitrust Policy Cause the Great Merger Wave?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 77-118, April.
  6. Mueller, Dennis C., 1996. "Lessons from the United States's antitrust history," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 415-445, June.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521816632 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521016919 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Gunther Tichy, 2001. "What Do We Know about Success and Failure of Mergers?—Rejoinder," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 431-440, December.
  10. J. Fred Weston, 2001. "Merger and Acquisitions as Adjustment Processes," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 395-410, December.
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