The Politics of M&A Antitrust
88 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2017 Last revised: 11 Oct 2021
Date Written: October 28, 2019
Antitrust regulators play a critical role in protecting market competition. We examine whether the political process affects antitrust reviews of merger transactions. We find that acquirers and targets located in the political districts of powerful U.S. congressional members who serve on committees with antitrust regulatory oversight receive relatively favorable antitrust review outcomes. To establish causality, we use plausibly exogenous shocks to firm-politician links and a falsification test. Additional findings suggest congressional members’ incentives to influence antitrust reviews are affected by three channels: special interests, voter and constituent interests, and ideology. In aggregate, our findings suggest that the political process adversely interferes with the ability of antitrust regulators to provide independent recommendations about anti-competitive mergers.
Keywords: Political Economy; Antitrust; FTC; DOJ; Senate Judiciary Committee; House Judiciary Committee; Mergers and Acquisitions
JEL Classification: D72, G34, G38, K21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation