Monday, December 10, 2018

The European Commission’s Obligation to Record Meetings in Antitrust Cases

Jacopo Figus Diaz describes The European Commission’s Obligation to Record Meetings in Antitrust Cases.

ABSTRACT: The European Commission (‘EC’) routinely organises in-person meetings and telephone interviews in the course of antitrust investigations. These conversations typically involve investigating officials from DG COMP, members of the Chief Economist’s Team, and, less frequently, the Competition Commissioner or members of his or her cabinet. They are used to gather evidence and solicit opinions and may either be relied on directly or may shape the investigating officials’ views. This article examines the duty on the EC to maintain a record of such meetings in its case files and recommends that the EC formalise its practice and routinely include a full and complete record of all meetings and conversations held in any case...

December 10, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Price Salience and Product Choice

Thomas Blake, Sarah Moshary, Kane Sweeney, Steven Tadelis study Price Salience and Product Choice.

ABSTRACT: We study the effect of price salience on whether a product is purchased and, conditional on purchase, the quality purchased. Consistent with our theoretical predictions, we find that making the full purchase price salient to consumers reduces both the quality and quantity of goods purchased. The effect of salience on quality accounts for at least 28% of the overall revenue decline. Evidence shows that the effects persist beyond the first purchase and impact even experienced users. Detailed click-stream data shows that price-obfuscation makes price comparisons difficult and results in consumers spending more than they otherwise would. We also find that sellers respond to the increased price obfuscation by listing higher quality tickets.

December 10, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Effects of Downstream Competition on Upstream Innovation and Licensing

Jean-Etienne de Bettignies, Bulat Gainullin, Hua Fang Liu, and David T. Robinson explore The Effects of Downstream Competition on Upstream Innovation and Licensing.

ABSTRACT: We study how competition between two downstream firms affects an upstream innovator's innovation strategy, which includes selecting how much innovation to produce and whether to license this innovation to one (targeted licensing) or both (market-wide licensing) downstream competitors. Our model points to a U-shaped relationship between downstream competition and upstream innovation: at low levels of competition, market-wide licensing is optimal and competition reduces innovation, while at high levels of competition targeted licensing is optimal and competition increases innovation. Empirical analysis using a large panel of US data provides clear support for these predictions linking competition, innovation and licensing.

 

December 7, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The AT&T/Time Warner Merger: Judge Leon Garbled Professor Nash

Steve Salop, Georgetown Law admonishes The AT&T/Time Warner Merger: Judge Leon Garbled Professor Nash.

ABSTRACT: This short article forthcoming in the Journal of Antitrust Enforcement offers comments on Judge Leon’s opinion in the AT&T/Time Warner vertical merger litigation. It provides out a critical analysis of the court’s skeptical treatment of the Nash bargaining theory that formed the basis of the DOJ’s complaint and the economic errors he made. The article also raises questions about whether Judge Leon’s economic errors in analyzing the bargaining model might have affected his interpretation of the evidence. The article also offers some critical comments about the DOJ’s treatment of efficiencies from the elimination of double marginalization.

December 7, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Modern Industrial Organization Theory of Media Markets and Competition Policy Implications

Oliver Budzinski, Ilmenau University of Technology and Bjoern A. Kuchinke, Ilmenau University of Technology write on The Modern Industrial Organization Theory of Media Markets and Competition Policy Implications.

ABSTRACT: This paper outlines the modern industrial organization theory of media markets including competition policy implications. After recapturing fundamentals of industrial organization theory in a non-technical way, the state of the art of (i) modern platform economics, (ii) the economics of the so-called sharing economy, and (iii) the economics of data-based business models and data-driven markets is summarized in a detailed way and illustrated by modern media examples.

December 7, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Competition Lore

Caron Beaton-Wells has done a wonderful job in giving a very diverse set of viewpoints in her Competition Lore series.  See here for regular updates.

December 6, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

FinTech Credit and Traditional Bank Credit: Allies or Opponents?

Nikolaos I. Papanikolaou, Bournemouth University - Business School asks FinTech Credit and Traditional Bank Credit: Allies or Opponents?

ABSTRACT: FinTech servicers have grown rapidly largely in response to a gradually more stringent and complex regulatory environment for the traditional banking sector as a result of the recent financial crisis. FinTech credit refers to the credit activity facilitated by electronic platforms, which are commonly referred to as “loan-based crowd funders”, “peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders”, or “marketplace lenders”. This involves borrowers being matched directly with investors. FinTech credit platforms’ heavy digitalisation of processes and specialised focus are supposed to lower transaction costs and entail convenience for end users. With its high-technology platforms and ability to use alternative information sources for credit decisions, FinTech organisations are deemed as enhancing access to credit and investments for underserved segments of the population or the business sector, like, e.g., Small and Medium Entreprises (SMEs) and start-ups. Indeed, FinTech platforms facilitate various forms of credit, including consumer and business lending, lending against real estate, non-loan debt funding such as invoice financing, to name a few. As such, they directly challenge traditional banking institutions by ‘threatening’ to poach a significant share of their existing and potential credit customers. Hence, FinTech is considered by several policy-makers, practitioners, and scholars as being an opponent for traditional credit intermediaries. However, we should not ignore the flip side of the coin. First, there is a variation in the creditor base of FinTech credit platforms. Although a portion of funding sources is linked to retail investors, several FinTech entities resort to institutional investors, many of which are traditional banks, to attract funds. Indeed, banks typically originate loans for FinTech credit platforms nowadays, thus being ones of the closest allies for these newly-born entities. Second, banks have been building up their digital banking activities for some years now, and the emergence of FinTech lending platforms has sped up this process. Actually, there are examples of cooperation among FinTech lenders and banks, which may be of mutual benefit, such as knowledge sharing and funding. In this paper we shed ample light on both sides of the coin, that is, the synergies as well as the antagonism between FinTech platforms and traditional lenders. Towards this, we explore the development of FinTech credit markets and how this affects credit provision and the traditional bank lending. Moreover, we analyse the functioning and the nature of the FinTech credit markets as well as the size and growth relative to credit extended by traditional financial institutions and also with respect to the overall credit in the economy.

December 6, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Effect of Competition Law on Patent Remedies

Alison Jones, King's College London – The Dickson Poon School of Law and Renato Nazzini, King's College London – The Dickson Poon School of Law identify The Effect of Competition Law on Patent Remedies.

ABSTRACT: Although competition law and IP law probably pursue complementary goals, competition laws can:

(i) affect remedies available for patent infringement; and/or otherwise,

(ii) limit the conduct of patentees, particularly when transferring or licensing their patents.

This chapter discusses the cases in which tensions between the protection of patents in complex products and the competition laws have arisen or may arise, particularly as regards the ability of owners of standard essential patents (SEPs) to monetise their patents either by seeking an injunction against implementers or by refusing to grant licences complying with previously given commitments—generally, commitments to license on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms. This chapter also examines potential competition law constraints on the pricing of patent licences, other licensing terms, multi-level licensing and level discrimination, patent pools, sale of patent portfolios and patent acquisitions.

December 6, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Asymmetric Price Adjustment and the Effect of Structural Reforms in the Gasoline Market in Greece

Zacharias Bragoudakis, Bank of Greece and Dimitrios Sideris, Bank of Greece study Asymmetric Price Adjustment and the Effect of Structural Reforms in the Gasoline Market in Greece.

ABSTRACT: Efficient pricing in the gasoline market has often been the subject of public debate in Greece during the recent years. The present paper: (a) Investigates the possible existence of asymmetric adjustment of gasoline prices to oil price variations in the Greek market in the recent years, thus contributing to the relevant literature. (b) Examines whether the structural reforms that took place in the gasoline market in the post-2010 period had any impact on the pricing dynamics of the market. To this end, the analysis applies the TAR-ECM cointegration technique, which is considered to be the most robust econometric method for identifying such kind of asymmetries, and makes use of observations at the lowest frequency available. The results provide evidence in favour of symmetric behaviour for the period following the structural reforms in the market, but not for the period before the reforms. This could be due to the change of the behaviour of the market participants as a result of the new institutional framework.

December 6, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

An Antitrust-Informed Approach to Regulating Internet Interconnection

Daniel Lyons, Boston College - Law School offers An Antitrust-Informed Approach to Regulating Internet Interconnection.

ABSTRACT: For over a decade, net neutrality has dominated telecommunications policy. Advocates targeted broadband networks because of their strategic position as the gateway to consumers, which potentially positions them to shape the flow of information online. Yet as former the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) Chairman Julius Genachowski noted, these broadband providers are merely the “onramps” to the Internet— the last mile of a system that brings over 35,000 networks together to move information packets from origin to destination.

Interconnection agreements stitch these networks together. These arms’ length transactions define the terms by which networks exchange traffic with one another. But like all contracts, interconnection agreements can be subject to dispute. If not resolved, these disputes can expose fault lines between networks that shatter the consumer’s illusion of a seamless Internet experience. Partly in recognition of its lack of familiarity with this market and partly to avoid allegations of “regulating the Internet,” the Commission has waded slowly into these waters and has refrained from asserting plenary authority over interconnection agreements. The early interconnection scholarship largely reflects the network architecture of its period and does not take into account revolutionary changes in modern interconnection markets. This Article attempts to close that gap and offer a model for interconnection regulation in the modern era.

December 6, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Enduring Vitality of Comity in a Globalized World

Douglas H. Ginsburg, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty and John Taladay, Baker Botts discuss The Enduring Vitality of Comity in a Globalized World.

ABSTRACT: Consideration of comity in antitrust cases is more important than ever. The global proliferation of competition law enforcement agencies has produced profound effects. Most are highly beneficial for consumers at a local level, but these many agencies create significant difficulties because they apply different legal standards, procedures, and approaches to identifying and redressing perceived antitrust violations. One inescapable consequence is a much greater risk of conflict. This conflict can take various forms. In the extreme case, it can mean that different jurisdictions impose conflicting remedies for the same conduct irrespective of the effect in another jurisdiction, making it impossible for a party to comply with both remedies. But there are more subtle tensions, equally problematic, that can result in the regulation of a party’s conduct by one or more agencies that affect market conduct far beyond the enforcing agency’s own borders. These risks are particularly high when an agency applies the “effects” doctrine, which often results in remedies that necessarily have an effect beyond that jurisdiction’s own borders. Agencies seeking to enforce their antitrust laws should recognize these risks and guard against interfering with the legitimate interests of other governments regulating conduct within their own borders and determining how their own domestic markets should function. This Article examines some of the sources of tension in the competition ecosystem and the means the agencies now use to address those conflicts. The Article identifies a gap that still exists between the need for and mechanisms of coordination and proposes an expanded use of traditional comity to ensure that international competition law enforcement produces benefits for consumers while minimizing unnecessary and inappropriate interference with the legitimate interests of foreign jurisdictions.

December 5, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Aggregative Games and Oligopoly Theory: Short-run and Long-run Analysis

Simon P. Anderson, University of Virginia - Department of Economics, Nisvan Erkal, The University of Melbourne - Faculty of Business and Economics, and Daniel Piccinin, Brick Court Chambers discuss Aggregative Games and Oligopoly Theory: Short-run and Long-run Analysis.

ABSTRACT: We compile an IO toolkit for aggregative games and use inclusive best reply functions to deliver oligopoly comparative statics and ranking of firms' actions and profits. Aggregative games apply to additively separable direct and indirect preferences, as well as generalized quadratic forms. The aggregative game structure delivers immediate consumer welfare results if demand functions have the IIA property. We close the model with a monopolistically competitive fringe to show strong neutrality properties for long-run equilibria. These properties underscore a unifying principle in the literature on merger analysis, privatization, Stackelberg leadership, and cost shocks.

December 5, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Profitable Competition With Mergers

Kentaro Inomata, Competition Policy Research Center, Japan Fair Trade Commission studies Profitable Competition With Mergers.

ABSTRACT: This paper investigates the profitability of a decrease in the degree of product differentiation. We consider some merger problems and obtain two results in both Cournot and Bertrand: First, upstream firms can increase their profits as the degree of product differentiation decreases when they take place intra-brand mergers. In that case, the welfare level is lower when upstream competition exists than when not. Second, an efficient firm loses its benefit as the degree of product differentiation decreases while the rival inefficient firm may increase its profit. It contrasts with Zanchettin (2006).

December 5, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

COMPETITION LAW AROUND THE WORLD FROM 1889 TO 2010: THE COMPETITION LAW INDEX

Anu Bradford and Adam S Chilton discuss COMPETITION LAW AROUND THE WORLD FROM 1889 TO 2010: THE COMPETITION LAW INDEX .

ABSTRACT: Competition laws have become a mainstay of regulation in market economies. At the same time, past efforts to study the drivers or effects of competition laws have been hampered by the lack of systematic measures of these laws across a wide range of years or countries. In this paper, we draw on new data on the evolution of competition laws to create a novel Competition Law Index (the “CLI”) that measures the stringency of competition regulation from 1889 to 2010. We then employ the CLI to examine trends in the intensity of competition regulation over time and across key countries. We also use our data to create several alternative indexes of competition law that may be appropriate for specific research applications. In doing so, we hope to demonstrate how the CLI can facilitate new empirical research on comparative and international competition law.

December 5, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Reinvigorating Criminal Antitrust Law

D. Daniel Sokol, University of Florida examines Reinvigorating Criminal Antitrust Law.

ABSTRACT: Contemporary rhetoric surrounding antitrust in an age of populism has potential implications with regard to criminal antitrust enforcement. In areas such as resale price maintenance, monopolization, and Robinson-Patman violations, antitrust criminalization remains the law on the books. Antitrust populists and traditional antitrust thinkers who embrace a singular economic goal of antitrust push to enforce antitrust law that is already “on the books.” Under an economically informed lens, a natural extension of enforcement by the antitrust populists (and, potentially, economically informed thinkers who believe that criminal penalties get closer to optimal deterrence) would be to advocate the use of criminal sanctions, outside of collusion, for various antitrust violations which are “on the books” but have not been used in over a generation.

A return of criminalization for noncollusion related antitrust abuses presents potential legal problems. Current antitrust jurisprudence and policy make a return to criminalization of various practices not merely problematic as a matter of optimal deterrence, but also unconstitutional as a matter of law. The antitrust policy of today bears little resemblance to that of the earlier era of criminalization for a wider variety of antitrust violations. The first issue is one of time. It has been at least a generation since criminal antitrust cases have been brought for noncollusion based cases. The nature of antitrust violations is also different today. Antitrust criminal cases of the earlier era that included criminal enforcement for noncollusive activity were misdemeanors rather than felonies. Further, antitrust economics had not pushed antitrust case law to its current state based on a goal of consumer welfare, which weighs the potential procompetitive benefit as a justification to pursue certain behavior. That is, behavior that was once per se illegal is now governed by a rule of reason that weighs both the pro- and anticompetitive effects with regard to civil liability. An economically informed rule of reason makes the use of criminal sanctions problematic.

These changes to antitrust policy in the past forty-plus years create the basis for a challenge to the reintroduction of criminal penalties for noncollusion antitrust cases. First, this Article introduces the criminal antitrust regime and places it in historical context. Then, the Article explores the transformation of antitrust policy starting from the 1970s, which shifted antitrust policy towards a singular efficiency based goal. This focus on economic effects has significant repercussions for criminal antitrust enforcement, as it limits the possible use of criminal sanctions for Sherman Act § 1 and § 2 violations as well as the Robinson-Patman Act. These limitations apply only in situations where there is no ambiguity that the restraints in question are clearly anticompetitive. In practice, this means that only express collusion fits such a situation.

Criminal enforcement of noncollusive antitrust activity that is per se illegal creates two potential constitutional law problems, which the next part of the Article explores. The first is a desuetude problem, and the second is a void for vagueness problem. As a matter of constitutional law, these two doctrines limit possible overreach by antitrust populists inclined to use existing law to “get tough” on antitrust violations. The final part offers concluding thoughts on how antitrust must promote consumer welfare and how law enforcement must bring cases that optimally deter anticompetitive conduct but must not bring cases that inhibit the sort of business risk taking that promotes consumer welfare.

December 4, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Manipulation of Information as an Antitrust Infringement

Margherita Colangelo, University of Rome III - Department of Law and Mariateresa Maggiolino, Bocconi University - Department of Legal Studies; Ask Research Center identify Manipulation of Information as an Antitrust Infringement.

ABSTRACT: The creation and dissemination of distorted information is certainly not unknown. This phenomenon is by no means unexplored; on the contrary, it is the focus of several legal disciplines, from financial services regulation to the regulation of unfair commercial practices. However, from the antitrust law point of view, the relevance of information manipulation behaviors is neither crystal-clear nor much discussed in the literature. Nevertheless, in the current data economy, it is widely held that companies can shape demand not only by offering false and misleading information, but also by distributing unduly persuasive information, meaning information which exploits the cognitive distortions that specifically afflict individual consumers and their distinctive characteristics The aims of this paper are twofold: to understand whether and under which circumstances the case of information manipulation may constitute an antitrust infringement and to assess in particular, whether antitrust law is suitable to deal not only with the production and distribution of false, misleading or inaccurate information, but also with the creation and dissemination of unduly persuasive information. In detail, after mentioning the academic debate and the more traditional antitrust approach to the issue of information manipulation, this paper will discuss the latest European cases on the topic (AstraZeneca, Google Shopping, Euribor, Libor, and Hoffmann-La Roche), in which, albeit for various reasons, the European agencies and courts effectively weighted market scenarios related to the use of (alleged) false and misleading information.

December 4, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The 'Acceptable' Cartel? Horizontal Agreements under Competition Law and Beyond Friday 22 March 2019, London School of Economics and Political Science A Workshop Reflecting McEllistrim v Ballymacelligott Co-Operative Agricultural and Dairy Society Limit


Friday 22 March 2019, London School of Economics and Political Science
A Workshop Reflecting McEllistrim v Ballymacelligott Co-Operative Agricultural and Dairy Society Limited [1919] AC 548
Deadline for abstract submissions: 31 January 2019
The optimal treatment of potentially restrictive horizontal agreements is one of the most discussed and disputed questions within contemporary competition law. Taking as its starting point the centenary of McEllistrim v Ballymacelligot Co-op, a House of Lords decision on the restraint of trade doctrine, this one-day workshop will explore regulatory approaches to horizontal coordination in competition law and beyond.
Beyond ever-more proactive enforcement efforts against hard-core cartels, coordination between rivals raises complex issues regarding the extent to which private restrictions on competition should be permissible in pursuit of overall efficiency or other socially-important goals.  In the realm of EU competition law, recent years have seen a stream of cases considering the treatment of restrictive horizontal arrangements: from the much-debated Cartes Bancaires judgment and its follow-up Maxima Latvija; to the treatment of pay-to-delay agreements in Lundbeck and Servier; to issues surrounding payment systems in cases like MasterCard and Visa; to potential hub-and-spoke coordination in cases like ETURAS (and the spectre of algorithmic coordination); to the EFTA’s Court’s approach to joint tendering inSki Taxis; the Commission’s quixotic case against the membership rules of the International Skating Union; and the highly ambiguous ‘cartel’ conduct condemned in the Hoffmann-LaRoche and Novartis preliminary ruling.  
Cases of this sort raise two related questions.  First, when should such arrangements fall within the so-called “object box,” or should they instead be analysed by reference to their market effects in practice under Article 101(1) TFEU, or domestic competition rules like section 2 of the Competition Act 1998?  And second, are current approaches to exemption under Article 101(3) TFEU (or its domestic equivalent under section 9 of the Competition Act 1998) adequate to accommodate efficiency-enhancing behaviour resulting from horizontal coordination?
The prompt for this workshop is the centenary of a storied House of Lords decision on the restraint of trade doctrine, McEllistrim v Ballymacelligot Co-op, delivered on 19 March 1919.  The facts are all the more extraordinary because it concerned a small agricultural co-operative organisation in a geographically-isolated part of Ireland.  The superior court’s ruling, that a membership rule requiring each member to sell his milk to the society unless released by the other members from doing so violated the restraint of trade doctrine, was both highly significant in the context of the rural Irish economy at the time, and a precursor to the treatment of such issues within competition law. 
The workshop will explore the circumstances in which agreements between competitors can be deemed to fall outside the constraints of competition law, considering both antitrust and self-regulation approaches, and addressing EU law and beyond.  The organisers are interested in receiving paper proposals on themes related to the workshop topic, in particular:
  • Private law approaches to the regulation of horizontal agreements, including theories of self-regulation;
  • The treatment of non-cartel horizontal arrangements under EU competition law, in theory and practice; and
  • The treatment of non-cartel horizontal arrangements in comparative competition law perspective, both at Member State-level and within other competition regimes internationally.
The deadline for applications to participate in this workshop is 31 January 2019. Applications should be submitted by email toN.M.Dunne@lse.ac.uk, accompanied by a paper abstract of up to 500 words, setting out the proposed topic of the paper and its relevance to the workshop theme. Successful applicants will be informed by early February 2019. A full draft of the paper will be required one week in advance of the workshop. 
The workshop organisers can provide accommodation in London, and some financial assistance may be available to assist with transport costs. The event is organised jointly by Professor Imelda Maher (University College Dublin) and Niamh Dunne (LSE).

December 4, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Competition Between Two-Sided Platforms Under Demand and Supply Congestion Effects

Fernando Bernstein, Duke University, Gregory DeCroix, University of Wisconsin - Madison - School of Business, and N. Bora Keskin, Duke University - Fuqua School of Business analyze Competition Between Two-Sided Platforms Under Demand and Supply Congestion Effects.

ABSTRACT: Problem definition: This paper explores the impact of competition between platforms in the sharing economy. Examples include the cases of Uber and Lyft in the context of ride-sharing platforms. In particular, we consider competition between two platforms that offer a common service (e.g., rides) through a set of independent service providers (e.g., drivers) to a market of customers. Each platform sets a price that is charged to customers for obtaining service provided by a driver. A portion of that price is paid to the driver that delivers the service. Both customers’ and drivers’ utilities are sensitive to the payment terms set by the platform and are also sensitive to congestion in the system (given by the relative number of customers and drivers in the market). We consider two possible settings. The first one, termed “single-homing,” assumes that drivers work through a single platform. In the second setting, termed “multi-homing” (or “multi-apping” as it is known in practice), drivers deliver service through both platforms.

December 4, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Characteristics of Petroleum Product Prices: A Survey

Louis H. Ederington,University of Oklahoma - Division of Finance, Chitru S. Fernando, University of Oklahoma - Michael F. Price College of Business, Seth A. Hoelscher, Missouri State University - College of Business, Thomas K Lee, Energy Information Administration - US DOE, and Scott C. Linn University of Oklahoma - Michael F. Price College of Busines offer Characteristics of Petroleum Product Prices: A Survey.

ABSTRACT: This Article delves into the legal intricacies of the recently proposed merger of Disney with 21st Century Fox. This deal is the latest in a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the entertainment and media industries, which are adapting to the rapid rise of subscription video-on-demand services. Such a merger raises many antitrust questions regarding market power and concentration, as well as intellectual property issues. This Article looks into the proposed merger’s probability of success by examining, among other things, the Horizontal Merger Guidelines. In addition, this Article assesses the competition issues Disney and Fox are currently facing in the European Union, as well as current European efforts to modernize copyright and consumer access to the digital market. The entertainment landscape is at a fascinating crossroads, and this Article attempts to identify and analyze the legal considerations at play.

December 4, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The impact of the interchange fee regulation on merchants: evidence from Italy

Guerino Ardizzi (Bank of Italy) and Michele Savini Zangrandi (Bank of Italy) study The impact of the interchange fee regulation on merchants: evidence from Italy.

ABSTRACT: Interchange fees (IF) are fees that a cardholder’s bank (issuer) receives from the merchant’s bank (acquirer) when a card payment is executed. Interchange fees are an important part of the fees charged to merchants by acquirers. Because of their level and fragmentation, interchange fees can restrict competition and have thus been regulated in the EU. The Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR) came into effect for all EU member states in 2015 and sets maximum limits on interchange fees. By using a panel of Italian banks we assess the impact of introducing the IF regulation on the fees that acquiring banks charge to merchants (merchant fees), and on the merchants’ acceptance of card-based payments. We find that, in line with the regulatory intent, the ceiling imposed on interchange fees has led to a sizeable drop in merchant fees and to an increase in the acceptance of card payments, measured as transactions per terminal.

December 4, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)