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INEFFICIENCIES AND MARKET POWER IN FINANCIAL ARBITRAGE: A STUDY OF CALIFORNIA'S ELECTRICITY MARKETS -super-*

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  • SEVERIN BORENSTEIN
  • JAMES BUSHNELL
  • CHRISTOPHER R. KNITTEL
  • CATHERINE WOLFRAM

Abstract

For two years prior to the collapse of California's restructured electricity market, power traded in both a forward and a spot market for delivery at the same times and locations. Nonetheless, prices in the two markets often differed in significant and predictable ways. This apparent inefficiency persisted, we argue, because most firms believed that trading on inter-market price differences would yield regulatory penalties. For the few firms that did make such trades, it was not profit-maximizing to eliminate the price differences entirely. Skyrocketing prices in 2000 changed the major buyers' (utilities') incentives and exacerbated the price differentials between the markets. Copyright 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. and the Editorial Board of The Journal of Industrial Economics.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal The Journal of Industrial Economics.

Volume (Year): 56 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 347-378

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jindec:v:56:y:2008:i:2:p:347-378

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Cited by:
  1. Orea, L. & Steinbuks, J., 2012. "Estimating market power in homogenous product markets using a composed error model: application to the California electricity market," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1220, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

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