On the Consistency of Merger Policy

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Abstract

This paper presents a way to get around the information problem facing outside analysts who want to scrutinize competition authorities' decisions. A formal model of how decisions are taken is applied to infer information that is available to the authorities but not to the outside analyst. If the information thus inferred from several decisions is incompatible, it is claimed that the policy executed by the competition authorities is inconsistent. A case study is presented of two recent decisions by the Norwegian Competition Authority on proposed mergers in the Norwegian insurance industry, indicating they most likely were mutually inconsistent.

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