Price Competition and Concentration in Search and Negotiation Markets: Evidence from Mortgage Lending

Jason Allen, Robert Clark & Jean-François Houde
This paper examines the impact of bank consolidation on mortgage rates in order to evaluate the extent to which mortgage markets are competitive. Mortgage markets are decentralized and so rates are determined through a search and negotiation process. The primary effect of a merger therefore is to reduce the number of partners available with whom to negotiate, although it can also change the characteristics of the product, and impact the search effort of consumers. Using...
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