Can auctions increase competition in the pension funds market? The Chilean experience

Rodrigo Harrison, Marcela Parada-Contzen, Marcelo Villena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper analyses the auction policy over enrollees’ monopoly rights introduced in the Chilean pension system. This policy was designed to promote competition in the pension fund market driven by private firms, after 30 years of operation. Since the Chilean pension fund system has inspired dozens of countries in the last forty years, the analysis of the design and performance of its relatively new auction mechanism is of worldwide interest. We present a theoretical and empirical model. Our theoretical model illustrates firms’ incentives to participate in the auction process. Our empirical analysis focuses on the effect of auctions on outcomes, such as fees, mark-ups, demand price elasticity, returns, and risk premiums. Despite the evidence shown for the positive benefits of the auction implementation, the current mechanism design is not considering that the biggest issue is the low individuals’ price response levels. Importantly, the current auction design only incentivizes new entrants to participate. Thus, the design generates low competition in the auction processes. Proper design should incentivize all firms to participate. Besides, we find that consumers’ price elasticity increased after the implementation of auctions, although demand is still generally inelastic. Interestingly, non-winning auction firms did not react in fees but may have reacted in other characteristics, such as returns and risk premiums.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Policy Modeling
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Auction mechanism
  • Competition
  • Pension funds


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