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Price Negotiation in Differentiated Products Markets: Evidence from the Canadian Mortgage Market

Author

Listed:
  • Jason Allen
  • Robert Clark
  • Jean-François Houde

Abstract

This paper measures market power in a decentralized market where contracts are determined through a search and negotiation process. The mortgage industry has many institutional features which suggest competitiveness: homogeneous contracts, negotiable rates, and, for a given consumer, common lending costs across lenders. As a result, even with a small number of lenders, informed borrowers can gather multiple quotes. However, there is important heterogeneity in the ability of consumers to understand the subtleties of financial contracts, in their ability or willingness to search and negotiate for quotes, and also in their degree of loyalty to their main financial institution. We propose and estimate a model to disentangle the different channels through which market power can arise for a given transaction in this environment. There are two main sources of market power. The first is search frictions. We find that over the five year period of the contract the average search cost corresponds to an upfront sunk cost of between $1,047 and $1,590. The second main source of market power is switching costs. We estimate that consumers are willing to pay between $759 and $1,617 upfront to avoid having to switch banks.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason Allen & Robert Clark & Jean-François Houde, 2012. "Price Negotiation in Differentiated Products Markets: Evidence from the Canadian Mortgage Market," Staff Working Papers 12-30, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:12-30
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    File URL: http://www.bankofcanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/wp2012-30.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Carlos Noton & Andrés Elberg, 2013. "Revealing Bargaining Power through Actual Wholesale Prices," Documentos de Trabajo 304, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    2. Silvia Del Prete & Cristina Demma & Paola Rossi, 2017. "From few to many: product differentiation in the Italian mortgage market," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 383, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Lou, Weifang & Yin, Xiangkang, 2014. "The impact of the global financial crisis on mortgage pricing and credit supply," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 336-363.
    4. Michal Popiel, 2016. "Interest rate pass-through: a nonlinear vector error-correction approach," Working Papers 1352, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    5. Maria Ana Vitorino & Ali Hortacsu & Elisabeth Honka, 2014. "Advertising, Consumer Awareness and Choice: Evidence from the U.S. Banking Industry," 2014 Meeting Papers 574, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial institutions; Financial services; Market structure and pricing;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design

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