Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Monday, April 7, 2014

Horizontal Mergers and Product Quality

Kurt Richard Brekke, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute), Luigi Siciliani, University of York (UK), and Odd Rune Straume, University of Minho - Economic Policies Research Unit (NIPE); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) analyze Horizontal Mergers and Product Quality.

ABSTRACT: Using a spatial competition framework with three ex ante identical firms, we study the effects of a horizontal merger on quality, price and welfare. The merging firms always reduce quality. They also increase prices if demand responsiveness to quality is sufficiently low. The non-merging firm, on the other hand, always responds by increasing both quality and prices. Overall, a merger leads to higher average prices and quality in the market. The welfare implications of a merger are not clear-cut. If the demand responsiveness to quality is sufficiently high, some consumers benefit from the merger and social welfare might also increase.

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