DP6592 Investment and Usage of New Technologies: Evidence from a Shared ATM Network

Author(s): Hans Degryse, Stijn Ferrari, Frank Verboven
Publication Date: December 2007
Keyword(s): ATM, investment, network, technology
JEL(s): L10, O33
Programme Areas: Industrial Organization
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=6592

When new technologies become available, it is not only essential that firms have the correct investment incentives, but often also that consumers make the proper usage decisions. This paper studies investment and usage in a shared ATM network. Because all banks coordinate their ATM investment decisions, there is no strategic but only a pure cost-saving incentive to invest. At the same time, because retail fees for cash withdrawals are regulated to zero at both branches and ATMs, consumers may not have the proper incentives to substitute their transactions from branches to the available ATMs. We develop an empirical model of coordinated investment and cash withdrawal demand, where banks choose the number of ATMs and consumers decide whether to withdraw cash at ATMs or branches. We find that banks substantially underinvested in the shared ATM network and thus provided too little geographic coverage. This contrasts with earlier findings of strategic overinvestment in networks with partial incompatibility. Furthermore, we find that consumer usage of the available ATM network is too low because of the zero retail fees for cash withdrawals at branches. A direct promotion of investment (through subsidies or other means) can improve welfare, but the introduction of retail fees on cash withdrawals at branches would be more effective, even if this does not encourage investment per se.