Horizontal Mergers and Product Quality
39 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2015
Date Written: June 29, 2015
We study the effects of horizontal mergers when firms compete on quality and price. Two key factors are identified: (i) the magnitude of variable quality costs, and (ii) the relative magnitudes of cross-quality and cross-price effects on demand. The merging firms will increase (reduce) both quality and price if the degree of competition is sufficiently stronger (weaker) on price than on quality. If variable quality costs are sufficiently small, non-merging firms will respond to a merger by either reducing or increasing both price and quality. Welfare implications are not clear-cut and mergers might improve welfare through endogenous fixed-cost savings.
Keywords: horizontal mergers, quality and price competition
JEL Classification: L130, L150, L410
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