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Incompatibility and investment in ATM networks

  • Timothy H. Hannan
  • Ron Borzekowski

The literature on network industries and network effects notes that incompatibility across rival systems can influence firms' incentives to invest in product changes that are beneficial to the consumer. We investigate this phenomenon in the case of bank ATM networks, where the number of ATM locations serves as the measure of product quality and surcharge fees serve as an index of incompatibility. Using as a natural experiment the lifting of a surcharge ban in Iowa (and not in neighboring states), we find that the associated increase in incompatibility for Iowa banks caused a substantial increase in the number of ATM locations offered to customers. This effect is found to be larger (in percentage terms) for larger banks than for smaller ones.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2006-36.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2006-36
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  1. Timothy H. Hannan & Elizabeth K. Kiser & Robin A. Prager & James J. McAndrews, 2003. "To Surcharge or Not to Surcharge: An Empirical Investigation of ATM Pricing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 990-1002, November.
  2. Knittel Christopher R. & Stango Victor, 2008. "Incompatibility, Product Attributes and Consumer Welfare: Evidence from ATMs," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-42, January.
  3. Gautam Gowrisankaran & John Krainer, 2004. "The Welfare Consequences of ATM Surcharges: Evidence from a Structural Entry Model," Working Papers 04-16, NET Institute, revised Nov 2004.
  4. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  5. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Standardization, Compatibility, and Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 70-83, Spring.
  6. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-40, June.
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