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Enhancing Market Power by Reducing Switching Costs

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Author Info

  • Jan Bouckaert
  • Hans Degryse
  • Thomas Provoost

Abstract

Competing firms often have the possibility to jointly determine the magnitude of consumers’ switching costs. Examples include compatibility decisions and the option of introducing number portability in telecom and banking. We put forward a model where firms jointly decide to reduce switching costs before competing in prices during two periods. We demonstrate that the outcome hinges crucially on how the joint action reduces consumers’ switching costs. In particular, firms will enhance their market power if they implementmeasures that reduce consumers’ switching costs by a lump sum. Conversely, they willpreserve market power by not implementing actions that reduce switching costsproportionally. Hence, when policy makers design consumer protection policies, they should not always adopt a favourable attitude towards efforts by firms to reduce switching costs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2449.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2449

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Related research

Keywords: switching costs; market power; welfare;

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References

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  1. Jan Bouckaert & Hans Degryse, 2004. "Softening Competition by Inducing Switching in Credit Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 27-52, 03.
  2. Buehler, Stefan & Haucap, Justus, 2003. "Mobile Number Portability," Working Paper 17/2003, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
  3. Buehler, Stefan & Dewenter, Ralf & Haucap, Justus, 2005. "Mobile Number Portability in Europe," Working Paper 41/2005, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
  4. Biglaiser, Gary & Crémer, Jacques & Dobos, Gergely, 2010. "The value of switching costs," IDEI Working Papers 596, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 30 Oct 2012.
  5. Paul Klemperer & A. Jorge Padilla, 1997. "Do Firms' Product Lines Include Too Many Varieties?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(3), pages 472-488, Autumn.
  6. Fershtman, Chaim & Gandal, Neil, 1994. "Disadvantageous semicollusion," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 141-154, June.
  7. Erland Nier & Celine Gondat-Larralde, 2004. "The Microeconomics Of Retail Banking - An Empirical Analysis Of The UK Market For Personal Current Accounts," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004 110, Royal Economic Society.
  8. Farrell, Joseph & Klemperer, Paul, 2007. "Coordination and Lock-In: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
  9. Kim, Moshe & Kliger, Doron & Vale, Bent, 2003. "Estimating switching costs: the case of banking," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 25-56, January.
  10. Gans, Joshua S. & King, Stephen P. & Woodbridge, Graeme, 2001. "Numbers to the people: regulation, ownership and local number portability," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 167-180, June.
  11. V. Brian Viard, 2007. "Do switching costs make markets more or less competitive? The case of 800-number portability," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(1), pages 146-163, 03.
  12. Klemperer, Paul, 1987. "Markets with Consumer Switching Costs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 375-94, May.
  13. Vasso Ioannidou & Steven Ongena, 2010. ""Time for a Change": Loan Conditions and Bank Behavior when Firms Switch Banks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(5), pages 1847-1877, October.
  14. Yongmin Chen, 1997. "Paying Customers to Switch," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 877-897, December.
  15. Shy, Oz, 2002. "A quick-and-easy method for estimating switching costs," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 71-87, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Biglaiser, Gary & Crémer, Jacques & Dobos, Gergely, 2013. "Heterogenous switching costs," IDEI Working Papers 809, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Gary Biglaiser & Jacques Crémer & Gergely Dobos, 2014. "Heterogenous Switching Costs," CESifo Working Paper Series 4587, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Biglaiser, Gary & Crémer, Jacques & Dobos, Gergely, 2013. "Heterogenous switching costs," TSE Working Papers 13-451, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  4. Claudio Ribeiro De Lucinda & Mariana Oliveira E Silv, 2014. "Switching Costs And The Extent Of Potential Competition In Brazilian Banking," Anais do XLI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 41th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 139, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  5. Rhodes, Andrew, 2013. "Re-examining the Effects of Switching Costs," MPRA Paper 45982, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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