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Do cartel breakdowns induce mergers? Evidence from EC cartel cases

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  • Hüschelrath, Kai
  • Smuda, Florian

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hüschelrath, Kai & Smuda, Florian, 2013. "Do cartel breakdowns induce mergers? Evidence from EC cartel cases," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-036, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:13036
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cosnita-Langlais, Andreea & Tropeano, Jean-Philippe, 2013. "Fight cartels or control mergers? On the optimal allocation of enforcement efforts within competition policy," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 34-40.
    2. Motta,Massimo, 2004. "Competition Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521016919.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    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. J. Fred Weston, 2001. "Merger and Acquisitions as Adjustment Processes," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 395-410, December.
    7. Volker Nocke & Lucy White, 2007. "Do Vertical Mergers Facilitate Upstream Collusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1321-1339, September.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Koski, Heli & Pajarinen, Mika, 2013. "Empirical Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Competition Policy," ETLA Working Papers 15, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    2. Peter Ormosi, Stephen Davies, Martin Graffenberger, . "Mergers after cartels: How markets react to cartel breakdown," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(3).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    antitrust policy; cartels; mergers; cartel breakdown; European Union;

    JEL classification:

    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law

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