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Price Competition and Concentration in Search and Negotiation Markets: Evidence from Mortgage Lending

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Author Info

  • Jason Allen
  • Robert Clark
  • Jean-François Houde

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of bank consolidation on mortgage rates in order to evaluate the extent to which mortgage markets are competitive. Mortgage markets are decentralized and so rates are determined through a search and negotiation process. The primary effect of a merger therefore is to reduce the number of partners available with whom to negotiate, although it can also change the characteristics of the product, and impact the search effort of consumers. Using a Canadian merger as a case study, we find that, overall, consolidation had little effect on rates suggesting that, on average, the mortgage market is fairly competitive. However, a decomposition of the aggregate treatment effect reveals important heterogeneity in the impact of the merger. We find that consumers gathering multiple quotes are affected by the merger, while those who do not search are not. These results suggest that market power originates in large part from the presence of asymmetric search costs.

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File URL: http://www.bankofcanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/wp2012-04.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Working Papers with number 12-4.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:12-4

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Keywords: Financial institutions; Financial services; Interest rates;

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References

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  1. Orley C. Ashenfelter & Daniel Hosken & Matthew Weinberg, 2009. "Generating Evidence to Guide Merger Enforcement," NBER Working Papers 14798, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Preyas S. Desai & Devavrat Purohit, 2004. "“Let Me Talk to My Manager”: Haggling in a Competitive Environment," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(2), pages 219-233, August.
  3. Jason Allen & Robert Clark & Jean-François Houde, 2008. "Market Structure and the Diffusion of E-Commerce: Evidence from the Retail Banking Industry," Working Papers 08-32, Bank of Canada.
  4. Paola Sapienza, 2002. "The Effects of Banking Mergers on Loan Contracts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 329-367, 02.
  5. Fabio Panetta & Fabiano Schivardi & Matthew Shum, 2009. "Do Mergers Improve Information? Evidence from the Loan Market," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(4), pages 673-709, 06.
  6. Jason Allen & Robert Clark & Jean-François Houde, 2011. "Discounting in Mortgage Markets," Working Papers 11-3, Bank of Canada.
  7. Bester, Helmut, 1993. "Bargaining versus Price Competition in Markets with Quality Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 278-88, March.
  8. Ali Hortacsu & Chad Syverson, 2003. "Product Differentiation, Search Costs, and Competition in the Mutual Fund Industry: A Case Study of the S&P 500 Index Funds," NBER Working Papers 9728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Breslaw, Jon & Irvine, Ian & Rahman, Abdul, 1996. "Instrument Choice: The Demand for Mortgages in Canada," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 282-302, May.
  10. Justine S. Hastings, 2004. "Vertical Relationships and Competition in Retail Gasoline Markets: Empirical Evidence from Contract Changes in Southern California," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 317-328, March.
  11. Kristopher Gerardi & Lorenz Goette & Stephan Meier, 2010. "Financial literacy and subprime mortgage delinquency: evidence from a survey matched to administrative data," Working Paper 2010-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  12. Ali Hortacsu & Chad Syverson, 2006. "Cementing Relationships: Vertical Integration, Foreclosure, Productivity, and Prices," Working Papers 06-21, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  13. Susan E. Woodward & Robert E. Hall, 2012. "Diagnosing Consumer Confusion and Sub-optimal Shopping Effort: Theory and Mortgage-Market Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3249-76, December.
  14. William Adams & Liran Einav & Jonathan Levin, 2009. "Liquidity Constraints and Imperfect Information in Subprime Lending," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 49-84, March.
  15. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," NBER Working Papers 6699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Jason Allen & H. Evren Damar & David Martinez-Miera, 2012. "Consumer Bankruptcy and Information," Working Papers 12-18, Bank of Canada.

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