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Price cap regulation in a two-sided market: Intended and unintended consequences

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  • Wang, Zhu

Abstract

This paper studies intended and unintended consequences of price cap regulation in the two-sided payment card market. The recent U.S. debit card regulation was intended to lower merchants' card acceptance costs by capping interchange fees at the issuer cost, but for small-ticket transactions the interchange fee instead rose post-regulation. To address the puzzle, I construct a two-sided market model and show that card demand externalities between large-ticket and small-ticket transactions rationalize card networks' pricing response. Based on the model, I provide a welfare assessment of the issuer cost-based interchange regulation and discuss alternative regulatory approaches.

Suggested Citation

  • Wang, Zhu, 2016. "Price cap regulation in a two-sided market: Intended and unintended consequences," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 28-37.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:45:y:2016:i:c:p:28-37
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijindorg.2015.12.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhu Wang & Alexander L. Wolman, 2016. "Consumer Payment Choice in the Fifth District: Learning from a Retail Chain," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue 1Q, pages 51-78.
    2. Dennis Weisman & Soheil Nadimi, 2019. "A note on price regulation in two-sided markets," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 39(4), pages 2766-2777.
    3. Rong Ding & Julian Wright, 2017. "Payment Card Interchange Fees and Price Discrimination," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 39-72, March.
    4. Wang, Zhu & Wolman, Alexander L., 2016. "Payment choice and currency use: Insights from two billion retail transactions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 94-115.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Price cap regulation; Two-sided market; Demand externalities;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services

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