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Enhancing Market Power by Reducing Switching Costs

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  • Bouckaert, J.M.C.
  • Degryse, H.A.
  • Provoost, T.

    (Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economics Center)

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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Paper provided by Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center in its series Discussion Paper with number 2008-038.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubtil:2008038

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  1. 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.
  2. Stefan Buehler & Justus Haucap, 2004. "Mobile Number Portability," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 223-238, 09.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Farrell, Joseph & Klemperer, Paul, 2006. "Coordination and Lock-In: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," CEPR Discussion Papers 5798, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Biglaiser, Gary & Crémer, Jacques & Dobos, Gergely, 2013. "The value of switching costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(3), pages 935-952.
  7. 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.
  8. Fershtman, C. & Gandal, N., 1991. "Disadvantageous Semicollusion," Papers 37-91, Tel Aviv.
  9. 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.
  10. Klemperer, Paul, 1987. "Markets with Consumer Switching Costs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 375-94, May.
  11. 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.
  12. Garcia Marinoso, Begona, 2001. "Technological Incompatibility, Endogenous Switching Costs and Lock-In," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 281-98, September.
  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. Buehler, Stefan & Dewenter, Ralf & Haucap, Justus, 2005. "Mobile Number Portability in Europe," Working Paper 41/2005, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
  15. Yongmin Chen, 1997. "Paying Customers to Switch," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 877-897, December.
  16. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Gary Biglaiser & Jacques Crémer & Gergely Dobos, 2014. "Heterogenous Switching Costs," CESifo Working Paper Series 4587, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Rhodes, Andrew, 2013. "Re-examining the Effects of Switching Costs," MPRA Paper 45982, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  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. Biglaiser, Gary & Crémer, Jacques & Dobos, Gergely, 2013. "Heterogenous switching costs," IDEI Working Papers 809, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.

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