FOREWORD : US - ANTITRUST - HORIZONTAL MERGER - COORDINATED EFFECTS

Thinking about coordinated effects

The 2010 US Horizontal Merger Guidelines offer a substantially modified framework for evaluating coordinated effects. Can we rationally anticipate that this will stimulate the same boom in the antitrust economics of coordinated merger effects as that spurred by the unilateral effects section in the 1992 Guidelines? The answer is likely “no” partly because there is no consensus among economists and practitioners regarding the market factors that predict collusive behavior. Nonetheless, the approach in the 2010 Guidelines provides a useful framework for injecting some rigor into the analysis of tacit coordination.

In his important evaluation of U.S. antitrust enforcement policy published in this Journal, Professor William Kovacic urged U.S. antitrust regulatory agencies to “…give a fuller operational content to specific provisions” in the 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines (HMG) and singled out the need for “…the elaboration of the relatively open-ended prescriptions of Section 7 of the 2010 HMG, which sets out a substantially modified framework for evaluating coordinated effects.” [1] It is too soon to form a firm forecast, but can we rationally anticipate that the new HMG’s section on coordinated effects will stimulate the same boom in the antitrust economics of coordinated merger effects as that spurred by the unilateral effects section in the 1992 HMG? The answer is likely no, but it is important

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Janusz A. Ordover, Jith Jayaratne, Thinking about coordinated effects, September 2012, Concurrences N° 3-2012, Art. N° 48131, www.concurrences.com

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