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Conflicts of Interest, Information Provision and Competition in Banking

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  • Patrick Bolton
  • Xavier Freixas
  • Joel Shapiro

Abstract

In some markets, such as the market for drugs or for financial services, sellers have better information than buyers regarding the matching between the buyer's needs and the good's actual characteristics. Depending on the market structure, this may lead to conflicts of interest and/or the underprovision of information by the seller. This paper studies this issue in the market for financial services. The analysis presents a new model of competition between banks, as banks' price competition influences the ensuing incentives for truthful information revelation. We compare two different firm structures, specialized banking, where financial institutions provide a unique financial product, and one-stop banking, where a financial institution is able to provide several financial products which are horizontally differentiated. We show first that, although conflicts of interest may prevent information disclosure under monopoly, competition forces full information provision for sufficiently high reputation costs. Second, in the presence of market power, one-stop banks will use information strategically to increase product differentiation and therefore will always provide reliable information and charge higher prices than specialized banks, thus providing a new justification for the creation of one-stop banks. Finally, we show that, if independent financial advisers are able to provide reliable information, this increases product differentiation and therefore market power, so that it is in the interest of financial intermediaries to promote external independent financial advice.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 130.

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Date of creation: Jun 2004
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:130

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References

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  1. Wolfgang Pesendorfer & Asher Wolinsky, 2003. "Second Opinions and Price Competition: Inefficiency in the Market for Expert Advice," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 417-437.
  2. Darby, Michael R & Karni, Edi, 1973. "Free Competition and the Optimal Amount of Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 67-88, April.
  3. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1986. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 18-32, Spring.
  4. Asher Wolinsky, 1993. "Competition in a Market for Informed Experts' Services," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(3), pages 380-398, Autumn.
  5. Winand Emons, 1997. "Credence Goods and Fraudelent Experts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 107-119, Spring.
  6. Steven Shavell, 1994. "Acquisition and Disclosure of Information Prior to Sale," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 20-36, Spring.
  7. Benabou, Roland & Laroque, Guy, 1992. "Using Privileged Information to Manipulate Markets: Insiders, Gurus, and Credibility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 921-58, August.
  8. Winand Emons, 1995. "Credence Goods Monopolists," Diskussionsschriften dp9501, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  9. Kenneth L. Judd, 1985. "Credible Spatial Preemption," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(2), pages 153-166, Summer.
  10. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1983. "Natural Oligopolies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(5), pages 1469-83, September.
  11. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1998. "Limit Pricing and Entry Under Incomplete Information: An Equilibrium Analysis," Levine's Working Paper Archive 245, David K. Levine.
  12. Pitchik, Carolyn & Schotter, Andrew, 1987. "Honesty in a Model of Strategic Information Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 1032-36, December.
  13. John G. Riley, 2001. "Silver Signals: Twenty-Five Years of Screening and Signaling," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 432-478, June.
  14. Wolfgang Pesendorfer & Asher Wolinsky, 2000. "Second Opinions and Price Competition: Inefficiency in the Market for Expert Advice," Discussion Papers 1306, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  15. Okuno-Fujiwara, Masahiro & Postlewaite, Andrew & Suzumura, Kotaro, 1990. "Strategic Information Revelation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 25-47, January.
  16. Mailath, George J, 1989. "Simultaneous Signaling in an Oligopoly Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 417-27, May.
  17. Helmut Bester, 1998. "Quality Uncertainty Mitigates Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 828-844, Winter.
  18. Morgan, John & Stocken, Phillip C, 2003. " An Analysis of Stock Recommendations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(1), pages 183-203, Spring.
  19. Meurer, Michael & Stahl, Dale II, 1994. "Informative advertising and product match," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 1-19, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mehran, Hamid & Stulz, Rene M., 2007. "The economics of conflicts of interest in financial institutions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 267-296, August.
  2. Gilat Levy & Ronny Razin, 2004. "On the limits of communication in multidimensional cheap talk," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 545, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Georgarakos, Dimitris & Inderst, Roman, 2014. "Financial Advice and Stock Market Participation," CEPR Discussion Papers 9922, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Inderst, Roman, 2010. "Misselling (financial) products: The limits for internal compliance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 35-37, January.
  5. Wang, Zigan & Zhu, Youwei, 2011. "A dynamic model of house price," MPRA Paper 34395, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 29 Oct 2011.
  6. Gu, Yiquan & Wenzel, Tobias, 2012. "Strategic obfuscation and consumer protection policy in financial markets: Theory and experimental evidence," DICE Discussion Papers 76, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  7. Michiel Bijlsma & Machiel van Dijk & Marc Pomp & Cora Zonderland, 2005. "Competition in markets for life insurance," CPB Document 96, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

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