NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Thomas G. Wollmann

Booth School of Business
University of Chicago
5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
Tel: 773/-834-3768

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NBER Program Affiliations: IO
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: University of Chicago

NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2020How to Get Away with Merger: Stealth Consolidation and Its Real Effects on US Healthcare
w27274
Most US mergers are not reported to the government on the basis of their size, which can effectively exempt them from antitrust scrutiny, thereby leading to anticompetitive behavior. This paper studies premerger notification exemptions in the US dialysis industry. Over two decades, dialysis providers attempted over 4,000 facility acquisitions, half of which were not reported to the nation’s competition authorities. I estimate the effect of premerger notification exemptions on antitrust enforcement rates, and then I estimate the impact of the resulting market structure changes on patient health outcomes. First, I find that exemptions severely limit enforcement. Most striking, proposed facility acquisitions that would result in monopoly are blocked more than 80% of the time when apart of rep...
May 2018From Revolving Doors to Regulatory Capture? Evidence from Patent Examiners
with Haris Tabakovic: w24638
Many regulatory agency employees are hired by the firms they regulate, creating a “revolving door” between government and the private sector. We study these transitions using detailed data from the US Patent and Trademark Office. We find that patent examiners grant significantly more patents to the firms that later hire them and that much of this leniency extends to prospective employers. These effects are strongest in years when firms are actively hiring, and these relationships hold for the intensive margin of intellectual property protection. Ultimately, this leads the agency to issue lower quality patents, which we measure in citations. Together with other supporting evidence, we argue these results are suggestive of regulatory capture.
 
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