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The 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines

Abstract

On June 30, 2020, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission replaced the 1984 Non-Horizontal Merger Guidelines with the 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines (VMG). In the years between these two enforcement policy statements, there has been an avalanche of academic literature that addressed the antitrust law and economics of vertical integration, vertical mergers, and economically equivalent vertical contracts. To one extent or another, this burgeoning literature has informed the 2020 VMG. But have the new VMG gotten it right? This Special Issue will go a long way in answering that question. Some of the contributions offer an assessment of the 2020 VMG, while others contain analyses of economic issues that were prompted by the publication of the VMG.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    U.S. Department of Justice and The Federal Trade Commission (1984). 1984 Merger Guidelines. Available at: https://www.justice.gov/archives/atr/1984-merger-guidelines.

  2. 2.

    U.S. Department of Justice and The Federal Trade Commission (2020). Vertical Merger Guidelines. Available at: https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/reports/us-department-justice-federal-trade-commission-vertical-merger-guidelines/vertical_merger_guidelines_6-30-20.pdf.

  3. 3.

    Ford Motor Co. v. United States, 405 U.S. 562 (1972).

  4. 4.

    Beck and Scott Morton caution that the empirical literature has some biases because the authors of those empirical studies do not have a random sample of actual and contemplated vertical mergers.

  5. 5.

    United States v. AT&T, Inc., No. 18–5214 (D.C. Cir. 2019).

  6. 6.

    This market structure is inferior to having competition at both stages. Given the market structure, however, these solutions are desirable.

References

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Acknowledgements

I would like to thank all of the participants for their contribution to this Special Issue. Their papers are excellent, and their cooperation has been superb. All of us owe much to Larry White for providing space for this fine collection of articles.

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Correspondence to Roger D. Blair.

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Blair, R.D. The 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines. Rev Ind Organ 59, 133–138 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11151-021-09828-9

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Keywords

  • Vertical mergers
  • Vertical integration
  • Antitrust