Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

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

Monday, November 13, 2017

Forward Contracts, Market Structure, and the Welfare Effects of Mergers

Nathan H. Miller, Georgetown University - Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business and Joseph Podwol, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice examine Forward Contracts, Market Structure, and the Welfare Effects of Mergers.

ABSTRACT: We examine how forward contracts affect economic outcomes under generalized market structures. In the model, forward contracts discipline the exercise of market power by making profit less sensitive to changes in output. This impact is greatest in markets with intermediate levels of concentration. Mergers reduce the use of forward contracts in equilibrium and, in markets that are sufficiently concentrated, this amplifies the adverse effects on consumer surplus. Additional analyses of merger profitability and collusion are provided. Throughout, we illustrate and extend the theoretical results using Monte Carlo simulations. The results have practical relevance for antitrust enforcement.

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