Presentation on theme: "Topic 11: Market Definition"— Presentation transcript:
1 Topic 11: Market Definition Antitrust Economics 2013David S. EvansUniversity of Chicago, Global Economics GroupElisa MariscalCIDE, Global Economics GroupTopic 11| Part September 2013Date
2 Overview Part 1 Part 2 Role of Market Definition General Principles of Market DefinitionHypothetical Monopolist TestCritical Loss AnalysisPart 2Overview of Issues in Multisided PlatformsThe Case of Additive PricesNewspaper MarketsOne-Sided Biases
3 Key Questions to Think About Why “market definition” isn’t used by economists outside of their work on competition policy matters.Why “market definition” is used by courts and competition authoritiesCould the courts and competition authorities dispense with market definition?What is the role of false positives and negatives in market definition analysis, and does it matter whether it is merger or non-merger?
4 Things You Really Need to Know Relevant market and why it isn’t the same as what laypeople or businesspeople might call a marketHypothetical monopolist test which is very popular among competition authoritiesThe SSNIP test which is the name of the standard way of implementing this test.
6 Market Definition and Market Power Market power is important for assessing whether a firm has the incentive and ability to engage in anti-competitive behavior and whether merger will result in an increase in market powerMarket power depends on the constraints that a firm faces in increasing the price of a product profitably; these constraints typically involve substitutes in demand and changes in supply by other firms.The “market” identifies the producers the impose significant constraints on the power or a firm or group of firms to raise price profitably.Market definition is primarily (perhaps solely) used for the purpose of helping the courts and competition authorities assess dominance/market power.
7 Market Definition and Context Identifies sets of firms, substitution patterns, and strategic relationships among firms.Market definition provides a context for examining firm strategiesMarket definition limits the discussion of rival products and firms to a manageable group.FFirms in the marketA, B, C, D, EGHFirms outside of the market: F, G, H, …
8 Market Definition and Measures Share = Sales of firm’s product/total sales in the “market”Courts and competition authorities use “market share” as an indicator of possible “market power” or “dominance” for a firm (or group of firms in the case of collective dominance)Bigger market results in smaller shareSmaller market results in bigger shareMust make decision on what other products compete in the “market” to calculate the denominator of share.Other measures of concentration such as the HHI are based on market shares (HHI is sum of the shares, each squared, of all the firms in the market—see below).“See below”? Meaning we should include the equation – please add in the non green box…
9 Market Definition, the Case Law, and Economics “A relevant product market comprises all those products and/or services that are regarded as interchangeable or substitutable by the consumer, by reason of the products' characteristics, their prices and their intended use." (EC Notice of Definition of Market)Market share calculations put equal weight on all products in the market and zero weight on all products outside the market; no economic basis for this and it is obviously wrong.By putting products outside of the market we lose information which may be valuable and may make errors if the products outside do matterEconomist claim they can analyze economic effects of business practices without defining the market first (is this true?).Economists see constraints on market power as a continuum rather than having some products “in” the market vs. “outside” the market.
10 Market Definition Sets Hard Boundaries Between Products that are “In” or “Out” of the Market. Think of the “Hotelling Line” with many ice cream stands on a beach of infinite length. Start with stand in the middle. Market definition would say that there is a definite point at which stands to left or right are not “in the same market” because they don’t impose enough of a constraint.OutInProduct in questionContinuum of product substitutes—farther away are less substitutable
12 Identifying Relevant Substitutes by Asking What Would Constrain an Increase in Price The goal of market definition is to identify the group of products which provide significant and timely competitive constraints to the firm/product as issue.Demand-sideSupply sideHow will marginal customers react?Will producers of other products divert capacity?Product marketWould firms in one area supply another?Will customers buy from other areas?Geographic market
13 Demand-side substitution Substitution among products provides the main immediate competitive constraint and therefore plays the most important role in market definition in practice“Average” customers are not necessarily relevant. What matters most is the behavior of “marginal” customers – the ones who are most likely to move between products as a result of price changes and who therefore have biggest impact on revenue changes.Asymmetric substitution“Will the average buyers of product A switch to product B?” is not the same question as “Will the average buyers of product B switch to product A?” since neither is necessarily the marginal consumers who matterKey question is whether many consumers are at the “margin” between using this product or an alternative and would switch following a price increaseThink of the fixed line vs. mobile phone example in terms of asymmetry of substitution…
14 Demand-side substitution and the marginal consumer F is an “average consumer” of beer (from O to C)OA,B, C, D are at “the margin” of buying or not buying beer.FACDBGG is not a consumer of beer at current pricesThe “average” consumer may not switch to a substitute product in response to a small price increase; producer needs to worry about what consumers “at the margin” between buying and not buying the product will do.
15 Supply-side substitution Would firms quickly switch capacity to producing demand-side substitutes for the product of the firm under investigation in reaction to a price increase of that product?Relevant when firms can produce a range of different products using the same, or very similar, technologies and assetsFor example,Can the same plants be used to produce different products?Can competitors utilize their existing marketing and distribution networks for new products?Geographic market is often important for assessing supply-side substitutionWill firms in distant economic areas increase supply?
16 Standard Steps for Identifying a Relevant Market The first step is to consider a reference “product” (or “products”)The “candidate market”Identify the closest potential substitutes for products in the candidate marketAs discussed above, there are two potential sources of substitutionDemand-side substitutionSupply-side substitutionBut which substitutes do we consider?
17 Which products to consider as demand and supply substitutes for BMW’s MINI Cooper Other small carsSupply of new small carsMid-size carsAll carsAll means of transportationOr maybe buyers of MINI Coopers would switch to scooters or bicycles….
18 Hypothetical Monopolist (SSNIP) Test for Market Definition
19 Hypothetical Monopolist Test Logic of the testIs a “market” worth monopolizing?If yes, then the substitutes outside the “market” must be weakIf no, then the substitutes outside the “market” must prevent the exercise of market powerThus the group worth monopolizing pulls in all of the relevant substitutes.Start with the narrowest candidate market and assume that there is a monopoly supplierCould this hypothetical monopolist profitably impose a “small but significant not-transitory increase in price” (SSNIP) or will too many customers switch to demand-side or supply-side substitutes?Yes Candidate Market = Relevant MarketNo Candidate Market < Relevant Market Include the closest substitutes and repeat the test
20 How to proceed? Demand-side then supply-side Candidate MarketPotential substitute products1ABC2Demand-sideA+B+CDXWould be good to think of a toy example to go through this exercise – any ideas?3A+B+CS1Supply-sideA+B+C+S1S2X
21 Issues Concerning Hypothetical Monopolist Test Focuses entirely on price and excludes non-price dimensions of competition. Firms may adjust quality and other attributes to compete instead of price and engage in other non-price strategies not considered.The assumptions and measures may not be correctThe standard Lerner equation doesn’t always apply (e.g. two-sided markets).Estimates of demand and cost may not be reliable.Cost of errors that lead to “too narrow” a market is that competitive constraints are completely excluded; cost of errors that led to “too broad” is that if all substitutes are weighted the same then overstates competitive constraints.
22 Hypothetical Monopolist Test Depends on Where One Starts There is not a unique solution to market definition. The market can depend on where one (arbitrarily perhaps) starts.Starting with small cars competing with scooters could lead to a different answer than starting with small cars competing with large carsLarge CarsScootersSmall cars
23 Relevant Market at End of Analysis G, HA, B, C, D, E, FLKIA…..F is the “relevant market” based on the SSNIP test. C is the firm whose actions we are assessing. G, H, L, and K are firms that the SSNIP test says are outside of the market.
24 Critical Loss Analysis Implementing the Hypothetical Monopolist (SSNIP) Test
25 Critical loss analysis is a method for implementing SSNIP test in practice Step (1)—Profits, output, and sales before the price change for hypothetical monopolist (e.g. products A and B).PriceProfit = ($20 - $10) x 100 = $1,000$20$10MCQuantity100
26 Critical loss analysis is a method for implementing the SSNIP test Step (2): How many units of sales would have to switch to substitutes to make a 10% price increase just unprofitable? Suppose the answer is slightly more than16.7 (with roughly break even).Price$22$20$10MCQuantity83.33100If fewer than 16.7 units of sales switch than a 10% price increase is profitable
27 Critical Loss Analysis Depends on Customer Switching—an Example of a Calculation How many customers have to switch to substitutes to make a 10% price increase unprofitable?Consider this exampleInitial price = $20; MC = $10; Profit Margin = $10; Quantity = 100; Profit = $10 x 100 = $1,000New price = $22; MC = $10; Profit Margin = $12; Quantity = 83.33; Profit = $12 x = $1,000This implies that:If sales fall by less than 16.7% the price increase is profitableCandidate market is the no wider than relevant market (i.e. a smaller market could have a profitable price increase too).If sales fall by more than 16.7% the price increase is unprofitableCandidate market is too narrow (one can also say that the true market is even broader than the candidate market).The “critical loss” is 16.7%--this is the dividing line.
28 Dimplied by critical loss Critical Loss Analysis is a Method for Implementing the SSNIP TestStep (3)--Whether actual loss of sales is higher or lower than the critical loss depends on the elasticity of demand which depends on the slope of the demand curve at the initial price (in previous example critical loss corresponds to a “critical” demand elasticity of 1.66; what if the true demand elasticity was 5.75?)Price$22$20Dmore elastic$10MCDimplied by critical lossDmore inelasticQuantity83.33100Regression analyses, natural experiments, and internal market studies can help determine actual loss.
29 Critical Loss Analysis is a Method for Implementing the SSNIP Test To conduct the demand-side portion of the test in practice we needMarginal costs: data from at least one merging parties (and an assumption that these marginal costs are representative of other players in the market).Demand elasticities: natural experiments, regression studies, consumer surveys, diversion ratios are all ways to estimate the elasticity of demand.To conduct the supply-side portion of the test in practice we needSupply elasticities: change in output of substitute products by firms that aren’t currently producing those productsIn practice the supply-side response is usually ignored for critical loss.
30 Monopolized and is therefore too small. Comparison of Actual Versus Critical Loss Determines if Market is Large Enough to be Monopolized.Actual loss less than criticalLoss implies that price increase is profitable so assumed “market” can be profitably monopolized. Market is therefore at least this narrow.Actual loss greater than critical loss Implies price increase is unprofitable so assumed “market” can’t be profitablyMonopolized and is therefore too small.Critical Loss
31 The Simple Math of Critical Loss Analysis For an X% price increase, the critical loss isWhere M is the Lerner index (% difference between price and marginal cost)We can compare the critical loss to the actual loss based on data on elasticity of demand to assess whether a price increase would be profitableIn the previous example the actual loss will be greater than the critical loss if a 10% increase in price leads to a more than 16.7% decline in sales which means in turn that the elasticity demand is greater than 1.66 (in absolute value).Formal calculation
32 The Simple Math of Critical Loss Analysis—Example For an 5% price increase with a 50% contribution margin, the critical loss isWhich equals 1/11=roughly 9 percentWe can compare the critical loss to the actual loss based on data on elasticity of demand to assess whether a price increase would be profitableSuppose the elasticity of demand is 3.0. Then a 5% increase in price would reduce sales by 15%. If correct, we could conclude that the true market is larger.Suppose the elasticity of demand is 1.5. Then a 5% price increase would reduce sales by 7.5 percent. If correct, we would conclude that the true market is at least this narrow.
33 End of Part 1, Next Class Part 2 Overview of Market DefinitionGeneral Principles of Market DefinitionHypothetical Monopolist TestCritical Loss AnalysisPart 2Overview of Issues in multisided platformsThe Case of Additive PricesNewspaper MarketsOne-Sided Biases