Does the Potential to Merge Reduce Competition?

58 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2018

See all articles by Dirk Hackbarth

Dirk Hackbarth

Boston University - Department of Finance & Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Bart Taub

Glasgow University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2018

Abstract

We study anti-competitive mergers in a dynamic model with noisy collusion. At each instant, firms either privately choose output levels or merge, which trades off benefits of avoiding price wars against the costs of merging. There are three results. First, mergers are optimal when collusion fails (i.e., firms sufficiently deviate from a collusive regime). Second, long periods of collusion are likely, because colluding is dynamically stable. Therefore, mergers are rare. Third, mergers (and, in particular, lower merger costs) decrease pre-merger collusion, as punishments by price wars are weakened. Thus, although anti-competitive mergers harm competition ex-post, barriers and costs of merging due to regulation should be reduced to promote competition ex-ante.

Keywords: Competition, Horizontal mergers, imperfect information, Industry Structure, market power

JEL Classification: D43, G34, L12, L13

Suggested Citation

Hackbarth, Dirk and Taub, Bart, Does the Potential to Merge Reduce Competition? (February 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12732. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3126246

Dirk Hackbarth (Contact Author)

Boston University - Department of Finance & Economics ( email )

Department of Finance
595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
(617) 358-4206 (Phone)
(617) 353-6667 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://people.bu.edu/dhackbar/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Bart Taub

Glasgow University ( email )

Glasgow
United Kingdom

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