Wednesday, May 17, 2017
John Kwoka (Northeastern) has written on Mergers, Merger Control, and Remedies: A Response to the FTC Critique.
ABSTRACT: It has now been two years since publication of my research monograph Mergers, Merger Control, and Remedies: A Retrospective Analysis of U.S. Policy (MIT Press, 2015; hereafter MMCR). During this time, the book has received attention from economists and lawyers, from policymakers in the U.S. and elsewhere, from think tanks and consultants, from reporters and others. This has been due in part to the fact that the focus of the research – mergers, their effects, and their control – have become matters of wider public concern in the U.S. economy. MMCR also received attention since its methodology – distilling the results of careful studies of mergers – was relatively novel and also since its findings included a number of conclusions that ran counter to some strongly held opinions. I therefore expected it to be challenged, and that challenge has now come from the Federal Trade Commission.
In this review and update, I will first provide a brief overview of what my book in fact says, and then respond to the FTC’s various criticisms of its methodology and conclusions. I acknowledge an oversight that affects the strength of one conclusion, but otherwise, as I will show, there is nothing in the FTC critique that undermines the methodology or alters the conclusions of the book. Indeed, that critique makes clear the fundamental objectivity and strength of the underlying research.