Horizontal merger enforcement under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act : political and economic factors affecting enforcement at the FTC and DOJ
Henderson, Justin Alan.
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2011.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. All government agencies are affected by a broad number of factors that determine how they do their job. It is particularly important for regulatory agencies in the area of consumer protection, that they complete their tasks in a way that is both fair and beneficial for consumers. In this paper, I attempt to assess the effect of a variety of political, economic, and budgetary factors on the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding their role in horizontal merger enforcement. I use three simple regression models with the dependent variable of the number of mergers challenged by the DOJ, FTC, and combined. The independent variables assessed are the total number of mergers filed, party of the President, ideological measurements of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, S&P 500 growth, the unemployment rate, and the budgets of the two agencies. I find that the political variables have no significant effect in any of the three regressions. The number of mergers filed is significantly and positively correlated in all three regressions. S&P 500 growth and unemployment both have a significant effect on the number of merger challenges by the DOJ but not the FTC. Both the FTC and DOJ are significantly affected by the size of their respective budgets. In the overall regression, I find that unemployment, S&P 500 growth, and budgets have a significant impact on the total number of mergers challenged. The differential effect of the economic factors on the DOJ and FTC can help to show policymakers the strengths and weaknesses of the two agencies as well as show what factors might contribute to an agency's ability to equitably and effectively complete is job.
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