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I understand that limited vertical integration can lead to a lowering of prices for products and services, but it seems to me that even limited horizontal integration only leads to less competition.

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Horizontal integration may lead to lower costs by profiting from economies of scale. If the market demand for a product is spread over many enterprises, the costs will be generally higher because there will be more fixed costs in total. Instead, if there was a single company, fixed costs would be comparatively smaller.

The effect on the overall economy would be good. Lower costs mean more money for the company and/or lower prices for consumers. The effect on the consumers is not clear.

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