Horizontal Mergers vs. System Joiners

About Me

My name is Olivia Lofton and I’m a sophomore from Newnan, Georgia. I’m currently majoring in economics and minoring in applied mathematics. I plan to go to graduate school to pursue my PhD in economics. I’m primarily interested in public policy and economic development. I’m currently assisting Dr. DePasquale with her research in health economics.

Where My Research Stands

Dr. DePasquale’s research is centered in health economics as well as sports economics.  For the initial stage of my assistantship, I will help Dr. DePasquale in wrapping up some of her own health economics papers, while simultaneously studying her research and noting particular elements that interest me. Once I piece these elements together and have a more complete idea of what I would like to research, Dr. DePasquale will help me in customizing a more independent research project.

Hospital Mergers vs. System Joiners

As of right now, the economic literature on mergers, as well as the two government agencies that primarily monitor mergers, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, treat horizontal mergers and system joiners as one in the same.

To clarify, the American Hospital Association defines a merged hospital as one hospital fully merged from two previously independent hospitals, and which now operates under one license. A system joiner, on the other hand, is much less precise, and includes the joining of any individual hospital to a larger hospital system.

Dr. DePasquale studied how labor, admissions, costs, and treatments (surgical operations, ICU beds, etc.) changed in response to a merger versus a joiner. The results yielded significant differences for nearly all outcomes depending on whether a merger or a joiner had taken place. Such a disparity in economic consequences led Dr. DePasquale to believe that she should argue that horizontal mergers and system joiners should be treated differently within both policy and economic literature.

I will aid Dr. DePasquale by researching merger law in aims of answering the following questions:

  • How frequently are the FTC and DOJ merger guidelines updated?
  • Do these guidelines differ for horizontal mergers versus vertical mergers?
  • What financial amount signifies that a merger needs to be reported?
  • If the FTC and DOJ can’t review all mergers, which ones are more likely to be reviewed by the FTC versus the DOJ?
  • What defines a merger?
  • Are there any other significant differences between FTC and DOJ guidelines?

The answers to the question will help Dr. DePasquale to draft a compelling argument in regard to the handling of mergers and joiners.

4 Replies to “Horizontal Mergers vs. System Joiners”

  1. Hi Olivia,

    Your blog post was interesting to read as it was easy for someone like me with no background in economics to understand your research topic. I think you did a good job of defining the jargons merged hospitals and system joiners. Although there were no visuals, it doesn’t seem necessary as the content was easy to understand with just text. It would have been nice if you stated how your research can impact society in the short/long term.

  2. I would like to have seen more impacts as well. Another note, it would have been useful to include more references and cite some of the articles used to define specific terminology.

  3. You have done an amazing job of making your blog as clear and easy to follow as possible. By defining any terms used and avoiding the use of unnecessary jargon, you have made your blog accessible to the general public, which may or may not have a background knowledge in economics. You also did a good job of dividing the post into sections.

    You could perhaps think about including some references to current papers published in regards to your topic. You should also add the abbreviations DOJ and FTC in parenthesis after first writing them out in your ‘Hospital Mergers vs. System Joiners’ section before using them later on in your blog.

  4. Hi Olivia, your research sounds really interested! I’m in the sciences, so I don’t know much about your field and I didn’t even realize that non-lawyers were involved in this kind of research. Aside from from studying past cases on these topics, how do you plan to answer the questions you have posed?

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