Economics at the FTC: Retrospective Merger Analysis with A Focus on Hospitals

Joseph Farrell, Paul A. Pautler, and Michael G. Vita

Economists at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) support the agency’'s competition and consumer protection missions. In this year'’s essay we discuss efforts at the FTC and elsewhere to examine empirically the competitive effects of mergers. This work has ranged from subjective interview-based reports on post-merger behavior to more objective analyses of postmerger performance based on rigorous empirical analysis of prices. In this essay we discuss the merger retrospective literature generally, and focus on the FTC staff’'s recent empirical analyses of consummated hospital mergers.