This study estimates the competitive effects of horizontal mergers in the French long-distance bus industry. We examine the two mergers that followed the 2015 Deregulation Act (the Macron Law); we use an exclusive and exhaustive dataset that covers eight consecutive quarters. We analyze the merger effects by comparing bus links that were affected by mergers with those that were unaffected; we use difference-in-differences estimations. We find that the two mergers are associated with price increases of about 13.5% immediately that then moderate to 5.3%; and with the frequency decreases from − 21.5 to − 25.7%; we observe no effects on load factors. These findings show evidence of short-run anticompetitive effects, while the mergers under study were not scrutinized by the French competition agency, as they were below the notification thresholds.
What can be expected from mergers after deregulation? The case of the long-distance bus industry in France
9 September 2022