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The Welfare Consequences of ATM Surcharges: Evidence from a Structural Entry Model

  • Gautam Gowrisankaran
  • John Krainer

We estimate a structural model of the market for automatic teller machines (ATMs) in order to evaluate the implications of regulating ATM surcharges on ATM entry and consumer and producer surplus. We estimate the model using data on firm and consumer locations, and identify the parameters of the model by exploiting a source of local quasi-experimental variation, that the state of Iowa banned ATM surcharges during our sample period while the state of Minnesota did not. We develop new econometric methods that allow us to estimate the parameters of equilibrium models without computing equilibria. Monte Carlo evidence shows that the estimator performs well. We find that a ban on ATM surcharges reduces ATM entry by about 12 percent, increases consumer welfare by about 35 percent and lowers producer profits by about 20 percent. Total welfare remains about the same under regimes that permit or prohibit ATM surcharges and is about 17 percent lower than the surplus maximizing level. This paper can help shed light on the theoretically ambiguous implications of free entry on consumer and producer welfare for differentiated products industries in general and ATMs in particular.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12443.

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Date of creation: Aug 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12443
Note: IO PR
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  1. Christopher R. Knittel & Victor Stango, 2004. "Compatibility and Pricing with Indirect Network Effects: Evidence from ATMs," NBER Working Papers 10774, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Steven Berry & Joel Waldfogel, 1996. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency in Radio Broadcasting," NBER Working Papers 5528, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hotz, V Joseph & Miller, Robert A, 1993. "Conditional Choice Probabilities and the Estimation of Dynamic Models," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 497-529, July.
  4. Ariel Pakes & Michael Ostrovsky & Steve Berry, 2004. "Simple Estimators for the Parameters of Discrete Dynamic Games (with Entry/Exit Examples)," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2036, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Elizabeth W. Croft & Barbara J. Spencer, 2003. "Fees and Surcharging in automatic teller machine networks: Non-bank ATM providers versus large banks," NBER Working Papers 9883, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Fumiko Hayashi & Rick Sullivan & Stuart E. Weiner, 2006. "A guide to the ATM and debit card industry - 2006 update," Monograph, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, number 2006agttaadci2.
  7. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "The Impact Of Air Pollution On Infant Mortality: Evidence From Geographic Variation In Pollution Shocks Induced By A Recession," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167, August.
  8. Thomas J. Holmes, 1998. "The Effect of State Policies on the Location of Manufacturing: Evidence from State Borders," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 667-705, August.
  9. Bresnahan, Timothy F & Reiss, Peter C, 1991. "Entry and Competition in Concentrated Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 977-1009, October.
  10. Chernew, Michael & Gowrisankaran, Gautam & Fendrick, A. Mark, 2002. "Payer type and the returns to bypass surgery: evidence from hospital entry behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 451-474, May.
  11. Berry, Steven T, 1992. "Estimation of a Model of Entry in the Airline Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 889-917, July.
  12. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
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