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All market-based economies operate against a background of laws and regulations, including laws about enforcing contracts, collecting taxes, and protecting health and the environment. The government policies discussed in this chapter—like blocking certain anticompetitive mergers, ending restrictive practices, imposing price cap regulation on natural monopolies, and deregulation—demonstrate the role of government to strengthen the incentives that come with a greater degree of competition.

More than cooking, heating, and cooling

What did the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decide on the Kinder Morgan / El Paso Corporation merger? After careful examination, federal officials decided there was only one area of significant overlap that might provide the merged firm with strong market power. The FTC approved the merger, provided Kinder Morgan divest itself of the overlap area. Tallgrass purchased Kinder Morgan Interstate Gas Transmission, Trailblazer Pipeline Co. LLC, two processing facilities in Wyoming, and Kinder Morgan’s 50 percent interest in the Rockies Express Pipeline to meet the FTC requirements. The FTC was attempting to strike a balance between potential cost reductions resulting from economies of scale and concentration of market power.

Did the price of natural gas decrease? Yes, rather significantly. In 2010, the wellhead price of natural gas was $4.48 per thousand cubic foot; in 2012 the price had fallen to just $2.66. Was the merger responsible for the large drop in price? The answer is uncertain. The larger contributor to the sharp drop in price was the overall increase in the supply of natural gas. More and more natural gas was able to be recovered by fracturing shale deposits, a process called fracking. Fracking, which is controversial for environmental reasons, enabled the recovery of known reserves of natural gas that previously were not economically feasible to tap. Kinder Morgan’s control of 80,000-plus miles of pipeline likely made moving the gas from wellheads to end users smoother and allowed for an even greater benefit from the increased supply.

Key concepts and summary

The U.S. economy experienced a wave of deregulation in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when a number of government regulations that had set prices and quantities produced in a number of industries were eliminated. Major accounting scandals in the early 2000s and, more recently, the Great Recession have spurred new regulation to prevent similar occurrences in the future. Regulatory capture occurs when the industries being regulated end up having a strong influence over what regulations exist.


Bishop, Todd. 2014. “Microsoft Exec Admits New Reality: Market Share No Longer 90% — It’s 14%.”GeekWire. Accessed March 27, 2015. http://www.geekwire.com/2014/microsoft-exec-admits-new-reality-market-share-longer-90-14/.

Catan, T.,&Dezember, R. “Kinder-El Paso Merger to Face Antitrust Scrutiny,” Wall Street Journal . October 19, 2011.

Collins, A. “Tallgrass Energy to Acquire Kinder Morgan Assets for $1.8B.” The Middle Market , Accessed August 2013. http://www.themiddlemarket.com/news/tallgrass-energy-to-acquire-kinder-morgan-assets-for-1-point-8-billion-232862-1.html.

Conoco Phillips. “Why Natural Gas.” Accessed August 2013. http://www.powerincooperation.com/en/pages/useful.html?gclid=COXg7rH3hrgCFWlp7AodtkgA3g.

De la Merced, M. (2012, August 20). “Kinder Morgan to Sell Assets to Tallgrass for $1.8 Billion.” The New York Times . August 20, 2012.

The Federal Trade Commission. n.d. “The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Mission.” Accessed March 27, 2015. https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/reports/2014-one-page-ftc-performance-snapshot/150218fy14snapshot.pdf.

Kahn, C. “Kinder Morgan to Buy El Paso Corp. for $20.7B.” USA Today . October 17, 2011.

Kinder Morgan. (2013). “Investor Information.” Accessed August 2013. http://www.kindermorgan.com/investor/.

Rogowsky, Mark. 2014. “There'd Be No Wireless Wars Without The Blocked T-Mobile Merger, So Where Does That Leave Comcast-TWC?” Forbes.com. Accessed March 12, 2015. http://www.forbes.com/sites/markrogowsky/2014/08/27/t-mobile-and-sprint-continue-to-battle-thanks-to-the-government/.

U.S. Energy Information Administration (a). “Natural Gas Consumption by End User.” Accessed May 31, 2013. http://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/ng_cons_sum_dcu_nus_a.htm.

U.S. Energy Information Administration (b). “Natural Gas Prices.” Accessed June 28, 2013. http://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/ng_pri_sum_dcu_nus_a.htm.

The Wall Street Journal. 2015. “Auto Sales.” Accessed April 10, 2015. http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html.

Questions & Answers

pls wat is production possibility curve
Hasia Reply
economic is an art or science?
Karn Reply
is science
what is microeconomics and macroeconomics
Usman Reply
microeconomic deal with the study of individual firms and household and macroeconomics deal with the economy as a whole.
difine VAT,, and give advantage and disadvantage VAT
definition of Monopoly
malonzy Reply
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monopoly is a process whereby one supplier and lot of damands in the market
Wat is the importance of economics
Vicky Reply
it broaden one's mind
it help us to make good choices
it helps to make efficient use of our scarce resources
what is an efficient wage and how it causes structural unemployment and how it could be shown graphically?
Amos Reply
economics is a social science and an art discuss
Kerry Reply
further explanation on the definition
Samuel Reply
is demand the same as quantity demanded
literally, demand is not the same as quantity demanded. While quantity demanded is directly and particularly related to price, demand is the various relations that exist between quantity demanded and price of a commodity.
what is business economics
Nelson Reply
business economics is the way the society uses its limited resources to satisfy their unlimited wants
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Isaac Reply
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Jacob Reply
what is demand
Sunday Reply
demand means desire for a commodity backed by willingness & ability to pay for that commodity
what is supply
supply means suppliers supplying more commodities when price's high or less when price's low to satisfy human want
the coefficient of price elasticity of supply is the measure of percentage change in the quantity supplied of a good due to a given percentage change in its price.
Please what is Economics of Scales?
what is cardinal and ordinal utility?
Cardinal utility is the satisfaction derived by the consumers from the consumption of goods and services while ordinal is ranked in terms of preference.
Please explain what is meant by Economic Integration?
Please I need help!!!!
economics scales I don't know but I know laws of returns to scale
can someone help explain to me what is fairly inelastic dd
Economics Economics - The study of how people use their limited resources to try to satisfy unlimited wants
Economic integration has been one of the main economic developments affecting international trade in the last years. Countries have wanted to engage in economic cooperation to use their respective resources more effectively and to provide large markets for member-countries of the resulting integrate
Inelastic Demand When consumers are relatively unresponsive to price changes. A PED coefficient of less than one means that a particular change in the price of a good will be met by a proportionally smaller change in the quantity demanded.
demand refers to goods and services that a consumer is willing and able to buy at given rate over a given period of time
Demand  - The entire relationship between the quantity of product that buyers wish to purchase per period time and the price of that product..
what are the factor that affect demand
The factors that affect demand Price Price of the other commodity Wheather and climate conditions
what is development planning?
Emmanuel Reply
What is economics?
Shubham Reply
economics is study of scarcity and how humans make decisions.
reason for development planning in West Africa
what is development planning?
economics is a science that deals with human behaviors as a relationship between earns and scarce means,which have alternate uses.

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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