Skip to main content

The 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines


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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    U.S. Department of Justice and The Federal Trade Commission (1984). 1984 Merger Guidelines. Available at:

  2. 2.

    U.S. Department of Justice and The Federal Trade Commission (2020). Vertical Merger Guidelines. Available at:

  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.


  1. Angerhofer, T. J. & Blair, R. D. (2021). Successive monopoly, bilateral monopoly, and vertical mergers. Review of Industrial Organization.

  2. Beck, M., & Morton, F. S. (2021). Evaluating the evidence on vertical mergers. Review of Industrial Organization.

  3. Hovenkamp, H. (2021). Competitive harm from vertical mergers. Review of Industrial Organization.

  4. Lafontaine, F. & Margaret, S. (2021). Presumptions in vertical mergers: The role of evidence. Review of Industrial Organization.

  5. Luca, F., & Guillermo, M. (2021). Diagnosing anticompetitive effects of vertical integration by multiproduct firms. Review of Industrial Organization.

  6. Luca, F., & Marshall, G. (2020). The competitive impact of vertical integration by multiproduct firms. American Economic Review, 110, 2041–2064.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Mayo, J. & Mark, W. (2021). The welfare effects of vertical mergers and their remedies. Review of Industrial Organization.

  8. Moresi, S., David, R., Salop, S. C., & Sarafidis, Y. (2021). Vertical mergers in a model of upstream monopoly and incomplete information. Review of Industrial Organization.

  9. Moresi, S., & Steven, S. (2021). When vertical is horizontal: How vertical mergers lead to increases in ‘Effective Concentration’. Review of Industrial Organization.

  10. Rogerson, W. (2021). The upstream pass-through rate, bargaining power and the magnitude of the raising rivals’ costs (RRC). Review of Industrial Organization.

  11. Ross, T., & Ralph W. (2021). A Canadian perspective on vertical merger policy and guidelines. Review of Industrial Organization.

  12. Salinger, M. (2021). The new vertical merger guidelines: Muddying the waters. Review of Industrial Organization.

  13. Salinger, M. (1991). Vertical mergers in multi-product industries and Edgeworth’s paradox of taxation. Journal of Industrial Economics, 39, 545–556.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Sappington, D., & Dennis, W. (2021). Vertical merger policy: Special considerations in regulated industries. Review of Industrial Organization.

  15. Shapiro, C. (2021). Vertical mergers and input foreclosure lessons from the AT&T/time warner case. Review of Industrial Organization.

  16. Williamson, O. (1968). Economies as an antitrust defense: The welfare trade-offs. American Economic Review, 58, 18–36.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


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.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Roger D. Blair.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Blair, R.D. The 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines. Rev Ind Organ 59, 133–138 (2021).

Download citation


  • Vertical mergers
  • Vertical integration
  • Antitrust