Bureau of Economics: Economic Issues Papers
Economic Issues Series: Papers are literature reviews and analyses in areas of public policy concern involving issues similar to those addressed in the Commission's Competition and Consumer Protection missions. Economic Issues Series papers normally require a smaller commitment of Commission resources than Bureau Economic Reports.
The more recent Economic Issues Papers are offered in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. If you have trouble accessing one of these reports, please email ReportRequests@ftc.gov.
Merger Efficiencies at the Federal Trade Commission 1997–2007, Malcolm B. Coate & Andrew J. Heimert (February 2009)
The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice significantly expanded the efficiencies section of the Horizontal Merger Guidelines in April 1997. The revisions broadened the scope of the analysis and clarified the framework for determining when claimed efficiencies should be recognized in merger analysis. This study reviews how FTC staff have treated efficiencies claims in the following ten years, considering 186 mergers in which the Commission staff completed a second request investigation, between April 1997 and March 2007.
Transparency at the Federal Trade Commission: The Horizontal Merger Review Process: 1996-2003, Malcolm B. Coate and Shawn W. Ulrick (February 2005)
This paper empirically analyzes the Federal Trade Commission's merger enforcement decisions, to supplement the 2004 release of the Horizontal Merger Investigation Data. The study provides insights into the review process for both multi- and single-market mergers. We present concentration-based models, customized to the relevant industry, for mergers with large numbers of overlaps. When more detailed data is available (for mergers with 3 or fewer overlaps), the analyses also focus on additional factors. We find evidence to suggest that, in addition to market structure, verified customer complaints and entry considerations also affect the enforcement decision. Finally, the study notes that the Commission's enforcement policy has been stable during the 1996 through 2003 time period.
Quantifying Causes of Injury to U.S. Industries Competing with Unfairly Traded Imports: 1989 to 1994, Kenneth H. Kelly and Morris E. Morkre (December 2002)
This study updates and extends the earlier 1994 BE Staff Report Effects of Unfair Imports on Domestic Industries: U.S. Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Cases, 1980 to 1988. First, it estimates the adverse effect of dumped and subsidized imports on domestic industries for 63 final cases decided by the U.S. during 1989-1994. Injury to domestic producers from unfairly traded imports is greater in 1989-1994 compared with 1980-1988. This increase is attributable in part to an increase in dumping margins. Second, the study estimates the effects of dumped and subsidized imports on workers and consumers. U.S. consumers gain at least $2.9 billion per year (1992 dollars) from dumped and subsidized imports. Consumer benefit per job lost ranges from a low of $27,000 to a high of $3.6 million. Third, the study measures how changes in demand and supply for the output of domestic industries that compete with unfairly traded imports have affected the performance of those industries. On average, a decline in demand is the single most important factor reducing output and revenue for these industries, and has a larger effect than unfairly traded imports.
Economic Perspectives on the Internet, Alan E. Wiseman (July 2000)
This report provides a detailed overview of the body of economic research that is relevant to the Internet and Internet-based markets. The report provides an introduction to Internet technology and history and addresses four topics in particular: a) different methods of pricing user access, b) the pricing of goods and services sold via the Internet, c) network effects and firm behavior, and d) taxation of electronic commerce. Drawing on recent Internet-related economic scholarship, and more traditional studies of pricing practices and market structure, the report considers some possible antitrust implications for firms operating in this rapidly changing marketplace, as well as pointing to areas for future research.
Older Economic Issues Papers
The papers below are not available online. To receive a copy of one of these reports, please email ReportRequests@ftc.gov
1. Costs and Benefits of Occupational Regulation, Carolyn Cox and Susan Foster, October 1990.
Occupational licensing frequently increases prices and imposes substantial costs on consumers of professional services, although the goal of licensure is generally to increase the quality of professionals' services. This paper is a review of the literature in the field focusing on empirical estimates of the costs of licensure regulations and alternatives to licensure.
2. A Review of Structure-Performance Studies in Grocery Retailing, Keith B. Anderson, June 1990.
This is a review of the literature on the effects of grocery retailing concentration on market performance. The review generally concludes that the existing structure-performance studies of this industry contain methodological and econometric weaknesses.
1. How Should Health Claims for Foods Be Regulated? An Economic Perspective, John E. Calfee and Janis K. Pappalardo, September 1989.
This policy analysis examines the application of a cost/benefit approach to health claims. It focuses on the problem that regulators tend not to ask one of the right questions: How much will it cost consumers if we do not allow a claim that turns out to be true?
1. Deregulation in the Trucking Industry, Diane S. Owen, May 1988.
This report examines the effects of the deregulation in the trucking industry that began with the Motor Carrier Act of 1980. It finds that the feared effects of reduced service to small communities, destructive competition, confusion among shippers, and unsafe trucks, do not appear to have occurred. It is explained that a comparison of benefit and cost estimates of various studies indicates that the competitive forces unleashed by the partial deregulation of trucking may have resulted in economic benefits outweighing costs by a factor of twenty to one.
2. The Deregulated Airline Industry: A Review of the Evidence, Jonathan D. Ogur, Curtis Wagner, and Michael G. Vita, January 1988.
This report summarizes the available evidence on the effects of deregulation in the airline industry. The main conclusions are: 1) airline safety has improved since deregulation; 2) requiring general aviation to follow safety rules similar to those already followed by commercial airlines could significantly improve safety; 3) increasing airport landing fees during congested periods would significantly reduce delays; 4) frequency of flights to small cities has risen since deregulation; and 5) deregulation has significantly lowered prices of commericial air travel and permitted more people to fly.