Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Costos de Transacciones en Costa Rica

Leon, Jorge and Rodríguez, Adolfo (2012): Costos de Transacciones en Costa Rica.


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In this study we carry out the first formal estimation of the social cost of transactions in Costa Rica. The estimation considers transactions in cash and cards, covers the 2008- 2011 years and is based on the methodology applied by Bergman, Guibourg and Segendorf (2007) for Sweden, with adaptations specific for Costa Rica. We estimate that the social cost of transactions has remained relatively stable as a share of GDP during the years included. We assess that the importance of costs stemming from cash use is high: depending of the assumptions used, our estimations suggest that they are at least as important as those stemming from card transactions. We found that the decisions made by the consumers generate a sizable part of the social costs of using cash. Social costs per transaction are comparable to those calculated in the relevant literature, and they indicate that cash is generally less costly than cards. If the composition of private and social costs is analyzed, it can be seen that the components of the cost on which the BCCR could have more influence are associated with the withdrawal, holding and use of cash in transactions, all of which affect the private costs of consumers, banks and retailers. An institutional strategy to provide alternative electronic payment systems and to promote its use among consumers and retailers would result in a lower need to withdraw cash, in lower cash stocks to manage by banks and other companies, and in a lower opportunity cost for the cash held.

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