Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Overlapping Ownership, R&D Spillovers, and Antitrust Policy

Author(s): Ángel Luis López and Xavier Vives

Publication Date: June 2016

Keyword(s): Collusion, common ownership, competition policy, cross-ownership, innovation, minority shareholdings, modified HHI and partial merger

Programme Area(s): Financial Economics and Industrial Organization

Abstract: This paper considers cost-reducing R&D investment with spillovers in a Cournot oligopoly with overlapping ownership. We show that overlapping ownership leads to internalization of rivals' profits by firms and find that, for demand not too convex, increases in overlapping ownership increase (decrease) R&D and output for high (low) enough spillovers while it increases R&D but decreases output for intermediate levels of spillovers. There is scope for overlapping ownership to improve welfare provided that spillovers are sufficiently large. The socially optimal degree of overlapping ownership increases with the number of firms, with the elasticity of demand and of the innovation function, and with the extent of spillover effects. In terms of consumer surplus standard, the desirability of overlapping ownership is greatly reduced even under low market concentration. When R&D has commitment value and spillovers are high the optimal extent of overlapping ownership is higher. The results obtained are robust in the context of a Bertrand oligopoly model with product differentiation.

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Bibliographic Reference

López, Á and Vives, X. 2016. 'Overlapping Ownership, R&D Spillovers, and Antitrust Policy'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.