Competition in Banking: Switching Costs and the Limits of Antitrust Enforcement
AbstractThe antitrust intervention in banking has always been heavily influenced by considerations of stability. Regulation has historically given precedence to the stability objective, relegating thus competition to second place. In fact, in the case of banking, price competition tends to encourage overly speculative behaviours, which essentially entail acceptance of excessive risk, with a resultant volatility that could potentially harm depositors, and ultimately compromise the stability of the economic system as a whole. The consequence of this approach is that banking market becomes extremely rigid on the supply side and structurally not equipped for a competitive orientation, and banks come to occupy a privileged position vis-à-vis governments that--to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the countries and the situations--enables them to sidestep the antitrust authorities. In such a scenario, the trade-off between stability and competition cannot be totally resolved through traditional antitrust actions, which are sometimes at odds with the stability objective and hampered by the constraints of the previously defined regulatory framework. It is precisely these considerations, found in a significant portion of the literature, that provide the starting base for the hypothesis of this work and namely the proposal of a novel demand side perspective, i.e. one which focuses on the central role of consumers in the competitive process. If intervention on the supply side is hampered a priori by the regulatory framework, it is nevertheless possible to implement pro-competition actions on the demand side, for example by enhancing the ability of consumers to change from one provider to the other without impacting on the market structure. In operational terms, the proposed approach is to leverage consumer mobility in order to stimulate the currently weakened competition between firms. This would make it possible to pursue the traditional antitrust objectives of efficiency and welfare maximisation, without necessarily impacting on stability.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Cattaneo University (LIUC) in its series LIUC Papers in Economics with number 153.
Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Corso Matteotti 22 - Castellanza (VA) 21053
Phone: +39 (0)331-572 1
Fax: +39 (0)331-572 320
Web page: http://www.liuc.it/default.asp
More information through EDIRC
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-04-16 (All new papers)
- NEP-COM-2005-04-16 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-LAW-2005-04-16 (Law & Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Klemperer, Paul, 1995. "Competition When Consumers Have Switching Costs: An Overview with Applications to Industrial Organization, Macroeconomics, and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 515-39, October.
- Panzar, John C & Willig, Robert D, 1981. "Economies of Scope," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 268-72, May.
- Allen, Franklin & Gale, Douglas, 2004.
"Competition and Financial Stability,"
Journal of Money, Credit and Banking,
Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(3), pages 453-80, June.
- 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.
- Frederic S. Mishkin, 1999.
"Financial Consolidation: Dangers and Opportunities,"
NBER Working Papers
6655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- S. Mishkin, Frederic, 1999. "Financial consolidation: Dangers and opportunities," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(2-4), pages 675-691, February.
- Marcel Canoy & Machiel van Dijk & Jan Lemmen & Ruud de Mooij & JÃ¼rgen Weigand, 2001. "Competition and stability in banking," CPB Document 15, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
- 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.
- Elizabeth Kiser, 2002. "Predicting Household Switching Behavior and Switching Costs at Depository Institutions," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 349-365, June.
- Carletti, Elena & Hartmann, Philipp, 2002.
"Competition and stability: what's special about banking?,"
Working Paper Series
0146, European Central Bank.
- Philipp Hartmann & Elena Carletti, 2002. "Competition and Stability: What's Special about Banking?," FMG Special Papers sp140, Financial Markets Group.
- Waterson, Michael, 2003. "Consumers and Competition," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 679, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Giovanni B. Ramello, 2002. "Copyright and Antitrust Issues," LIUC Papers in Economics 114, Cattaneo University (LIUC).
- Donatella Porrini & Giovanni B. Ramello, 2011.
"Class action and financial markets: insights from law and economics,"
Journal of Financial Economic Policy,
Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(2), pages 140-160, July.
- Ramello, Giovanni B. & Porrini, Donatella, 2010. "Class action and financial markets: Insights from law and economics," POLIS Working Papers 143, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Piero Cavaleri).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.