Collaborate or Consolidate: Assessing the Competitive Effects of Production Joint Ventures
21 Pages Posted: 7 May 2014 Last revised: 6 Jul 2017
Date Written: July 5, 2017
We analyze a symmetric joint venture in which firms facing external competition collaborate in input production. Under standard regularity conditions, the collaboration leads to higher profits than a horizontal merger, whereas the effect on prices and quantities depends on the form of downstream competition. When firms compete in prices, downstream prices for all firms are higher following a symmetric joint venture than following a merger. The reverse result may obtain under quantity competition. In light of our results regarding profits, we provide reasons why firms might still wish to merge: imperfect information, cost synergies, and organizational asymmetries.
Keywords: Production Joint Venture, Collaboration Among Competitors, Horizontal Merger, Bertrand Oligopoly, Cournot Oligopoly
JEL Classification: L13, L23, L42
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