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Turnover and Regulation: The Chilean Pension Fund Industry

  • Solange Berstein
  • Alejandro Micco

We study price competition in a model with differentiated products and searching costs. In this model firms charge a price above marginal costs. This positive mark-up gives firms incentive to steal consumers from their rivals. For this purpose, firms hire sales agents that contact customers personally to switch them from one firm to another and offer rewards to the switchers. These rewards can be interpreted as a price cut to rival's customers, which is a form of price discrimination in this model. This model is applied to the Chilean pension funds industry. In 1995 there was more than one sales agent per two hundred customers with a turnover between Pension Fund Administrators of more than 50 percent. This high turnover was associated with large costs, and the authorities reacted by imposing restrictions to switching by the end of 1997. The empirical section of the paper attempts to analyze the role of sales agents in this industry and the impact of such restrictions.

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 180.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:180
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  1. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 2000. "Customer Poaching and Brand Switching," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 634-657, Winter.
  2. Yongmin Chen, 1997. "Paying Customers to Switch," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 877-897, December.
  3. Caminal, Ramon & Matutes, Carmen, 1990. "Endogenous switching costs in a duopoly model," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 353-373, September.
  4. Solange Berstein, 2002. "Two-Part Tariff Competition With Switching Costs and Sales Agents," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 162, Central Bank of Chile.
  5. Greg Shaffer & Z. John Zhang, 2000. "Pay to Switch or Pay to Stay: Preference-Based Price Discrimination in Markets with Switching Costs," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 397-424, 06.
  6. Stahl, Dale O., 1996. "Oligopolistic pricing with heterogeneous consumer search," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 243-268.
  7. Nilssen, T., 1990. "Two Kinds of Consumer Switching Costs," Papers 12-90, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  8. repec:chb:bcchwp:04 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Borenstein, Severin & Rose, Nancy L, 1994. "Competition and Price Dispersion in the U.S. Airline Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 653-83, August.
  10. Salvador Valdés & Peter Diamond, . "Social Security Reforms in Chile," Documentos de Trabajo 161, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  11. Ippolito, Richard A, 1992. "Consumer Reaction to Measures of Poor Quality: Evidence from the Mutual Fund Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 45-70, April.
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