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In a market where consumers choose between payment options and firms compete with products and prices, we show that payment data drives the formation of a market monopoly. A data-sharing policy can successfully restore and maintain a competitive market, but often at the expense of both efficiency and consumer welfare. The introduction of a low-cost anonymous means of electronic payment, or digital cash, preserves the market structure and improves consumers’ welfare by enabling them to monetize their private information. We discuss the potential role of central banks in providing digital ...
Faster payments: market structure and policy considerations
The U.S. payments industry is in the process of developing ubiquitous, safe, faster electronic solutions for making a broad variety of business and personal payments. How this market for faster payments will evolve will be shaped by a range of economic forces, such as economies of scale and scope, network effects, switching costs, and product differentiation. Emerging technologies could alter these forces and lead to new organizational arrangements or market structures that are different from those in legacy payment markets to date. In light of this uncertainty, this paper examines three ...
Monetizing Privacy with Central Bank Digital Currencies
In prior research, we documented evidence suggesting that digital payment adoptions have accelerated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While digitalization of payment activity improves data utilization by firms, it can also infringe upon consumers’ right to privacy. Drawing from a recent paper, this blog post explains how payment data acquired by firms impacts market structure and consumer welfare. Then, we discuss the implications of introducing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) that offers consumers a low-cost, privacy-preserving electronic means of payment—essentially, digital ...
Entry, exit, and the determinants of market structure
This paper estimates a dynamic, structural model of entry and exit in an oligopolistic industry and uses it to quantify the determinants of market structure and long-run firm values for two U.S. service industries, dentists and chiropractors. Entry costs faced by potential entrants, fixed costs faced by incumbent producers, and the toughness of short-run price competition are all found to be important determinants of long-run firm values, firm turnover, and market structure. Estimates for the dentist industry allow the entry cost to differ for geographic markets that were designated as Health ...