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ftc hospital mergers

ftc hospital mergers - Rev Ind Organ(2009 35:369385 DOI...

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Rev Ind Organ (2009) 35:369–385 DOI 10.1007/s11151-009-9231-2 Economics at the FTC: Retrospective Merger Analysis with a Focus on Hospitals Joseph Farrell · Paul A. Pautler · Michael G. Vita Published online: 31 October 2009 © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2009 Abstract Economists at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) support the agency’s competition and consumer protection missions. In this year’s essay we discuss efforts at the FTC and elsewhere to examine empirically the competitive effects of mergers. This work has ranged from subjective interview-based reports on post-merger behavior to more objective analyses of post-merger performance based on rigorous empirical analysis of prices. In this essay we discuss the merger retrospective literature gener- ally, and focus on the FTC staff’s recent empirical analyses of consummated hospital mergers. Keywords Antitrust · Consumer protection · FTC · Mergers · Merger retrospectives 1 Introduction The Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Economics (BE) is composed of about 70 Ph.D.-level economists, a small group of accountants, and 25 other staff (including research analysts). Its work supports the FTC’s competition (antitrust) and consumer protection missions. Most of the Bureau’s work is related directly to the Commission’s law enforcement activities (i.e., investigations and litigation), but FTC economists also help promote competition-oriented policies domestically at the state and federal levels, and contribute to the global adoption of modern, economically oriented competition policies. Finally, and most relevant to this essay, the Bureau’s staff engage in policy- oriented economic research. J. Farrell ( B ) · P. A. Pautler · M. G. Vita Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Economics, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20580, USA e-mail: [email protected] 123
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370 J. Farrell et al. Last year’s contribution to the Antitrust and Regulatory Update issue of this Review discussed a variety of topics, including the Google-DoubleClick merger, resale price maintenance, mortgage disclosures, and the effects of credit scoring on the pricing of automobile insurance policies to minorities. This year, too, FTC economists have been active in many areas. For example, the Bureau worked with international organiza- tions to help refine and beneficially coordinate cross-border competition and consumer policies. FTC economists also participated in training programs for economists from overseas antitrust agencies. In non-merger antitrust, we continued our efforts to understand better the positive and normative aspects of vertical restraints, focusing particularly on minimum resale price maintenance (RPM). In 2007, the US Supreme Court eliminated the long-stand- ing policy of per se illegality of minimum RPM.
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