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Regulating two-sided markets: an empirical investigation

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  • Carbó-Valverde, Santiago
  • Chakravorti, Sujit
  • Rodríguez Fernández, Francisco

Abstract

We study the effect of government encouraged or mandated interchange fee ceilings on consumer and merchant adoption and usage of payment cards in an economy where card acceptance is far from complete. We believe that we are the first to use bank-level data to study the impact of interchange fee regulation. We find that consumer and merchant welfare improved because of increased consumer and merchant adoption leading to greater usage of payment cards. We also find that bank revenues increased when interchange fees were reduced although these results are critically dependent on merchant acceptance being far from complete at the beginning and during the implementation of interchange fee ceilings. In addition, there is most likely a threshold interchange fee below which social welfare decreases although our data currently does not allow us to quantify it. JEL Classification: L11, G21, D53

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1137.

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Date of creation: Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20091137

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Keywords: consumer payment choice; merchant payment adoption; network competition;

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  1. Carbó Valverde Santiago & Massoud Nadia & Rodríguez-Fernández Francisco & Saunders Anthony & Scholnick Barry, 2007. "The Economics of Credit Cards, Debit Cards and ATMs: A Survey and Some New Evidence," Working Papers 201074, Fundacion BBVA / BBVA Foundation.
  2. Gans Joshua S & King Stephen P, 2003. "The Neutrality of Interchange Fees in Payment Systems," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
  3. Christopher R. Knittel & Victor Stango, 2001. "Price ceilings as focal points for tacit collusion: evidence from credit cards," Working Paper Series WP-01-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. David B. Humphrey & Lawrence B. Pulley & Jukka M. Vesala, 1996. "Cash, paper, and electronic payments: a cross-country analysis," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), pages 914-941.
  5. E. Glen Weyl, 2010. "A Price Theory of Multi-sided Platforms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1642-72, September.
  6. Chakravorti, Sujit & To, Ted, 2007. "A theory of credit cards," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 583-595, June.
  7. Wilko Bolt & Sujit Chakravorti, 2008. "Economics of payment cards: a status report," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q IV, pages 15-27.
  8. Wilko Bolt & Sujit Chakravorti, 2008. "Consumer choice and merchant acceptance of payment media," Working Paper Series WP-08-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  9. Calem, Paul S & Mester, Loretta J, 1995. "Consumer Behavior and the Stickiness of Credit-Card Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1327-36, December.
  10. Sujit Chakravorti & Victor Lubasi, 2006. "Payment instrument choice: the case of prepaid cards," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q II, pages 29-43.
  11. Graeme Guthrie & Julian Wright, 2003. "Competing Payment Schemes," Departmental Working Papers wp0311, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics.
  12. Donze, Jocelyn & Dubec, Isabelle, 2008. "Paying for ATM usage : good for consumers, bad for banks ?," MPRA Paper 10892, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Humphrey, David B & Kim, Moshe & Vale, Bent, 2001. "Realizing the Gains from Electronic Payments: Costs, Pricing, and Payment Choice," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(2), pages 216-34, May.
  14. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Cooperation Among Competitors: Some Economics Of Payment Card Associations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 549-570, Winter.
  15. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:668-691 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Terri Bradford, 2008. "Developments in interchange fees in the United States and abroad," Payments System Research Briefing, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Apr.
  17. Ping He & Lixin Huang & Randall Wright, 2005. "Money And Banking In Search Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(2), pages 637-670, 05.
  18. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 990-1029, 06.
  19. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:645-667 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Baxter, William F, 1983. "Bank Interchange of Transactional Paper: Legal and Economic Perspectives," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 541-88, October.
  21. Ausubel, Lawrence M, 1991. "The Failure of Competition in the Credit Card Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 50-81, March.
  22. Kahn, Charles M. & Roberds, William, 2009. "Why pay? An introduction to payments economics," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-23, January.
  23. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  24. Rochet Jean-Charles, 2003. "The Theory of Interchange Fees: A Synthesis of Recent Contributions," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-28, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Nicole Jonker, 2011. "Card acceptance and surcharging: the role of costs and competition," DNB Working Papers 300, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  2. Scott Schuh & Oz Shy & Joanna Stavins & Robert Triest, 2011. "An economic analysis of the 2010 proposed settlement between the Department of Justice and credit card networks," Public Policy Discussion Paper 11-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  3. Wilko Bolt & Sujit Chakravorti, 2011. "Pricing in Retail Payment Systems: A Public Policy Perspective on Pricing of Payment Cards," DNB Working Papers 331, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  4. Wilko Bolt & Sujit Chakravorti, 2010. "Digitization of Retail Payment," DNB Working Papers 270, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.

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