Working Paper No. 541

Should Mergers be Controlled?

Published: December 14, 2000Pages: 40Keywords: Endogenous Mergers & Acquisitions; Coalition Formation; Competition PolicyJEL-codes: L41; L12; C78

Should Mergers be Controlled? Sven-Olof Fridolfsson and Johan Stennek


Anticompetitive mergers benefit competitors more than the merging firms. We show that such externalities reduce firms' incentives to merge (a holdup mechanism). Firms delay merger proposals, thereby foregoing valuable profits and hoping other firms will merge instead - a war of attrition. The final result, however, is an overly concentrated market. We also demonstrate a surprising intertemporal link: Merger incentives may be reduced by the prospect of additional profitable mergers in the future. Merger control may help protect competition. Holdup and intertemporal links make policy design more difficult, however. Even reasonable policies may be worse than not controlling mergers at all.

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Social Capital and Health

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Martin Ljunge, IFN, is the author of a chapter, "Trust promotes health: addressing reverse causality by studying children of immigrants", in a new book edited by Sherman Folland and Eric Nauenberg. The cutting edge of research is presented, covering the ever-expanding social capital field.

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