Friday, December 16, 2016

Evidence for the Effects of Mergers on Market Power and Efficiency

Bruce A. Blonigen, University of Oregon & NBER and Justin R. Pierce, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System have an interesting paper on Evidence for the Effects of Mergers on Market Power and Efficiency.

ABSTRACT: Study of the impact of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) on productivity and market power has been complicated by the difficulty of separating these two effects. We use newly-developed techniques to separately estimate productivity and markups across a wide range of industries using detailed plant-level data. Employing a difference-in-differences framework, we find that M&As are associated with increases in average markups, but find little evidence for effects on plantlevel productivity. We also examine whether M&As increase efficiency through reallocation of production to more efficient plants or through reductions in administrative operations, but again find little evidence for these channels, on average. The results are robust to a range of approaches to address the endogeneity of firms’ merger decisions.

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