Friday, June 13, 2008
The Empirical Evidence on the Pass-Through of Firm-Specific Cost Changes to Prices: What Implications for Merger Reviews?
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
Simon Evenett, University of St. Gallen discusses The Empirical Evidence on the Pass-Through of Firm-Specific Cost Changes to Prices: What Implications for Merger Reviews?
ABSTRACT: Mergers and acquisitions represent two important means by which resources are reallocated within capitalist economies. Such combinations can result in lower costs of supply, which are often referred to as efficiencies. However, mergers and acquisitions can also result in the greater exercise of market power by the parties concerned. The latter typically results in higher prices while (marginal or incremental) cost reductions may have the opposite effect. Central to the assessment of the overall likely effect of a merger or acquisition on prices is the extent to which any potential cost reductions of the parties are passed on to customers, the so-called cost pass-through rate. The emphasis in many jurisdictions' merger regulations on combination-specific cost efficiencies and on consumer welfare in evaluating proposed trans-actions puts at a premium our understanding of the degree and determinants of firm-specific cost pass-through to prices. The purpose of this chapter is to describe the available evidence on such pass-through and to consider the implications of this evidence for the conduct of merger reviews.