NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Evidence for the Effects of Mergers on Market Power and Efficiency

Bruce A. Blonigen, Justin R. Pierce

NBER Working Paper No. 22750
Issued in October 2016
NBER Program(s):Industrial Organization, International Trade and Investment, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

Study of the impact of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) on productivity and market power has been complicated by the difficulty of separating these two effects. We use newly-developed techniques to separately estimate productivity and markups across a wide range of industries using detailed plant-level data. Employing a difference-in-differences framework, we find that M&As are associated with increases in average markups, but find little evidence for effects on plant-level productivity. We also examine whether M&As increase efficiency through reallocation of production to more efficient plants or through reductions in administrative operations, but again find little evidence for these channels, on average. The results are robust to a range of approaches to address the endogeneity of firms’ merger decisions.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22750

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