Covid-19 and market power in local credit markets: the role of digitalization
Sergio Rubens Stancato de Souza and
No 1017, BIS Working Papers from Bank for International Settlements
This paper investigates how COVID-19 and digitalization affected the market power in local Brazilian credit markets. We first propose a novel methodology to estimate bank market power at the local level. We design a data-intensive local version of the Lerner index by developing heuristics to allocate national-level banks' inputs, products, and costs across their branches using large-scale datasets from many sources. We then exploit the exogenous variation in COVID-19 intensity across Brazilian localities to analyze how the pandemic influenced local market power through the effective price and marginal cost channels. Despite reducing the economic activity, COVID-19 did not impact the effective price channel: bank branches offset the decrease in credit income by reducing credit concessions. However, bank branches more affected by COVID-19 experienced increased marginal costs as they could not rapidly adjust their cost factors in response to the decrease in credit concessions. Consequently, COVID-19 reduced banks' local market power via the marginal cost channel. More digitalized bank branches enjoy cost and lending flexibility: they experience less stickiness in their cost structure and complement the reduced credit concessions in localities more affected by COVID-19 by extending credit to borrowers in remote localities less affected. Consequently, more digitalized banks improve their market power compared to traditional banks. This paper provides new insights into how crises can affect local market power in non-trivial ways.
Keywords: COVID-19; market power; digitalization; information technology; Lerner index (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C58 D22 D40 G21 I19 O31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 70 pages
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ban, nep-com, nep-ict and nep-ure
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:bis:biswps:1017
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