Efficiencies Brewed: Pricing and Consolidation in the U.S. Beer Industry

Orley C. Ashenfelter, Daniel Hosken, Matthew C. Weinberg

NBER Working Paper No. 19353
Issued in August 2013
NBER Program(s):   IO   LE

Merger efficiencies provide the primary justification for why mergers of competitors may benefit consumers. Surprisingly, there is little evidence that efficiencies can offset incentives to raise prices following mergers. We estimate the effects of increased concentration and efficiencies on pricing by using panel scanner data and geographic variation in how the merger of Miller and Coors breweries was expected to increase concentration and reduce costs. All else equal, the average predicted increase in concentration lead to price increases of two percent, but at the mean this was offset by a nearly equal and opposite efficiency effect.

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This paper was revised on November 6, 2013

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19353

Published: Efficiencies brewed: pricing and consolidation in the US beer industry Orley C. Ashenfelter1, Daniel S. Hosken2 andMatthew C. Weinberg3 The RAND Journal of Economics Volume 46, Issue 2, pages 328–361, Summer 2015 citation courtesy of

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