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 Informationsmarkt und Globalisierung: Verlage, Library Supplier, Bibliotheken (#77)

Moderation:   Dr. Franziska Wein 1, Dr. Klaus Junkes-Kirchen 2
1Universitäts und Forschungsbibliothek Erfurt - Erfurt, Deutschland; 2Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main - Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland
Themenkreis:   08 - Bibliotheken als Akteure auf dem Informationsmarkt
Zeit:   Donnerstag 04. Juni 2009 09:00 - 12:00
Raum:   Carl-Zeiss-Saal | linke Seite (EG)



3. Concentration in international scientific publishing from an economic perspective (#291)

Alexis Walckiers
Université Libre de Bruxelles, CP 114 - Bruxelles, Belgien

The first part of the presentation would describe the main economic motives for mergers and acquisition, as well as their effect on consumers. As a matter of theory, concentrations may increase consumer welfare if the merged entity is technically more efficient—for instance because there are important fixed or common costs, leading to economies of scale or scope—and if lower production costs are passed through to consumers. However, concentration can also reduce competitive pressure in the market by removing some competitors, which may in turn reduce the benefits consumers can expect from competition. Increased concentration can then for instance lead to less choice, less innovation, less efficiency, and possibly worse management. The importance of product market definition will be explained to help assess whether positive or negative effects of concentrations are expected to dominate.

Turning to the specifics of the market for scientific publications, the second part of the presentation would present the main recent flows of concentration. This would be followed by a description of the main characteristics of this unusual market: many direct and indirect market participants are publicly subsidized, there is some intermediation in the sense that readers usually do not pay directly what they consume, and entry and expansion on the market is impeded by natural and strategic barriers. I would then show—using earlier empirical findings—that prices of journals differ in a systematic manner depending on whether they are published by for-profit or not-for-profit organizations, and argue that this may derive from the limited incentives—or possibility—of consumers to substitute across journals, allowing the publishers to enjoy a certain degree of discretion in the setting of journal prices. Coming back to the important issue of product market definition, I would also explain why these empirical findings indicate that the relevant market lies at the field or even at the subfield level, and argue that this information is crucial because future mergers may be blocked by competition authorities in fields or subfields where concentrations are already well above 50%—although the largest publisher holds 25% of the STM market as a whole.


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