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Enhancing market power by reducing switching costs


  • Bouckaert, Jan
  • Degryse, Hans
  • Provoost, Thomas


A proportional decrease in switching costs increases competition and social welfare. However, a lump-sum decrease in switching costs softens competition and does not invariably increase social welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Bouckaert, Jan & Degryse, Hans & Provoost, Thomas, 2010. "Enhancing market power by reducing switching costs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 131-133, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:109:y:2010:i:2:p:131-133

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yongmin Chen, 1997. "Paying Customers to Switch," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 877-897, December.
    2. Garcia Marinoso, Begona, 2001. "Technological Incompatibility, Endogenous Switching Costs and Lock-In," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 281-298, September.
    3. Buehler, Stefan & Dewenter, Ralf & Haucap, Justus, 2006. "Mobile number portability in Europe," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 385-399, August.
    4. Stefan Buehler & Justus Haucap, 2004. "Mobile Number Portability," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 223-238, September.
    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. 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.
    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. Fershtman, Chaim & Gandal, Neil, 1994. "Disadvantageous semicollusion," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 141-154, June.
    9. Farrell, Joseph & Klemperer, Paul, 2007. "Coordination and Lock-In: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
    10. 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.
    11. Biglaiser, Gary & Crémer, Jacques & Dobos, Gergely, 2013. "The value of switching costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(3), pages 935-952.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Paul Klemperer, 1987. "Markets with Consumer Switching Costs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 375-394.
    15. 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, March.
    16. 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, March.
    17. Klemperer, Paul D, 1987. "Entry Deterrence in Markets with Consumer Switching Costs," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(388a), pages 99-117, Supplemen.
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    Cited by:

    1. Biglaiser, Gary & Crémer, Jacques & Dobos, Gergely, 2016. "Heterogeneous switching costs," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 62-87.
    2. Usero Sánchez, Belén & Asimakopoulos, Grigorios, 2012. "Regulation and competition in the European mobile communications industry: An examination of the implementation of mobile number portability," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 187-196.
    3. 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].
    4. Biglaiser, Gary & Crémer, Jacques & Dobos, Gergely, 2013. "The value of switching costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(3), pages 935-952.
    5. Andrew Rhodes, 2014. "Re-examining the effects of switching costs," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 57(1), pages 161-194, September.
    6. Biglaiser, Gary & Crémer, Jacques & Dobos, Gergely, 2013. "Heterogenous switching costs," TSE Working Papers 13-451, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Oct 2015.
    7. Juan Pablo Atal & Hanming Fang & Martin Karlsson & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2017. "Exit, Voice or Loyalty? An Investigation into Mandated Portability of Front-Loaded Private Health Plans," NBER Working Papers 23468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Biglaiser, Gary & Crémer, Jacques & Dobos, Gergely, 2013. "Heterogenous switching costs," IDEI Working Papers 809, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    9. Gary Biglaiser & Jacques Crémer & Gergely Dobos, 2014. "Heterogenous Switching Costs," CESifo Working Paper Series 4587, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item


    Price competition Switching costs;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation


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