Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Research Papers in Economics,
Stockholm University, Department of Economics

No 2004:8: Merges in Congested Markets

Jonas Häckner () and Carlos Razo ()
Additional contact information
Jonas Häckner: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University, Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Carlos Razo: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University, Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This paper analyses the effects of mergers on price and welfare in markets facing congestion and derives conditions under which a merger is consumer welfare improving, even in the absence of marginal cost savings. In our context a merger basically has two effects. First, it obviously increases market concentration. Second, it makes the new entity a more aggressive competitor. The paper shows that mergers that entail a more efficient use of installed capacity can result in important price reductions. Moreover, even when the post-merger price of the new merged entity increases, the outsiders may respond by decreasing prices and the overall effect may be a consumer welfare gain. Thus, the current merger policy may be inappropriate in these types of markets. From a policy perspective it could thus be argued that the competition authorities should demand less in terms of “standard” merger-efficiencies in order to approve the merger in a congested market, and especially when there are synergies in terms of capacity utilization.

Keywords: mergers; congestion; capacity utilization

JEL-codes: K21; L40

21 pages, August 20, 2004

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