Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Friday, December 4, 2009

Regulating Two-Sided Markets: An Empirical Investigation

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Santiago Carbo Valverde, Universidad de Granada, Sujit Chakravorti, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago - Research Department, and Francisco Rodriguez Fernandez, Universidad de Granada undertake Regulating Two-Sided Markets: An Empirical Investigation.

ABSTRACT: We study the effect of government encouraged or mandated interchange fee ceilings on consumer and merchant adoption and usage of payment cards in an economy where card acceptance is far from complete. We believe that we are the first to use bank-level data to study the impact of interchange fee regulation. We find that consumer and merchant welfare improved because of increased consumer and merchant adoption leading to greater usage of payment cards. We also find that bank revenues increased when interchange fees were reduced although these results are critically dependent on merchant acceptance being far from complete at the beginning and during the implementation of interchange fee ceilings. In addition, there is most likely a threshold interchange fee below which social welfare decreases although our data currently does not allow us to quantify it.

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