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Switching costs in local credit markets

Author

Listed:
  • Guglielmo Barone

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Roberto Felici

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Marcello Pagnini

    () (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

Switching costs are a key determinant of market performance. This paper tests their existence in the corporate loan market in which they are likely to play a central role because of the complexity of contracts and informational problems. Using very detailed data at bank-firm level on four Italian local credit markets we empirically show that firms tend to iterate their choice of the main bank over time. This inertia is not related to unobserved and time invariant preferences of firms across banks and can be attributed to the existence of switching costs. We also offer evidence that banks price discriminate between new and old borrowers by charging lower interest rates to the former in order to cover part of the switching costs. The discount is about 44 basis points, equal to 7 per cent of the average interest rate. These results prove robust to a number of other potential identification drawbacks.

Suggested Citation

  • Guglielmo Barone & Roberto Felici & Marcello Pagnini, 2010. "Switching costs in local credit markets," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 760, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_760_10
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    switching costs; local credit markets; price discrimination; lending relationships;

    JEL classification:

    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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