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78 Antitrust L.J. 619 (2012-2013)
Does Merger Control Work: A Retrospective on U.S. Enforcement Actions and Merger Outcomes

handle is hein.journals/antil78 and id is 637 raw text is: DOES MERGER CONTROL WORK?
Merger control is an antitrust priority in the United States and elsewhere,
but its effectiveness has not been well established with the kind of empirical
evidence developed, for example, with respect to cartel enforcement, much
less the vast literature evaluating industry regulation and other public policies.
There are a number of reasons for this relative dearth of evaluations in the
case of mergers and merger control. Among them is the fact that, at the level
of the individual firm and its products, performance data and other necessary
information are not usually publicly available. In addition, establishing the
counterfactual-what would have occurred absent the merger, or with some
alternative policy response-can be quite difficult to establish for a single
firm where other influences may dominate. Additional concerns about meth-
odology, modeling, and data quality have been widely noted as impediments
to evaluating mergers and merger control.
The importance of gaining an understanding about these issues is under-
scored by two facts: first, mergers are very common in the United States and
other market economies. During the past decade more than 15,000 mergers
were reported to the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission,
with some multiple of that not even reported because they fell short of statu-
* Neal F. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Economics, Northeastern University. Earlier
versions of this article were presented at the Federal Trade Commission Microeconomics Con-
ference (2010), the International Industrial Organization Conference (2011), the ACLE Confer-
ence on Competition Policy for Emerging Economies (2011), EARIE (2011), the Southern
Economics Association meetings (2011), and the Loyola Law School Antitrust Colloquium
(2012). The article benefited from the many comments received in those presentations. Special
thanks go to David Balan, David Balto, Malcolm Coate, and Andy Gavil for their comments, to
Lanier Benkard for providing data, to Kathy Downey, Chengyan Gu, and Tom Plahovinsak for
research assistance, and to reviewers and editors of this Journal for their constructive sugges-
tions. Further gratitude is extended to Dan Greenfield for his many substantial contributions to
the design and implementation of this research. All opinions and any remaining errors are the
sole responsibility of the author.


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