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On optimal scarcity prices

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  • Zöttl, Gregor
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    Abstract

    This article contributes to the debate of missing money (compare Joskow(2007a)). This debate has seriously questioned the desirability of limiting scarcity prices in markets with fluctuating demand by emphasizing their potentially negative impact on firms' investment decisions in the long run. A prominent example are recently liberalized electricity markets, where competition authorities have imposed price caps3 or adopted other measures to mitigate high scarcity prices. The impact of reduced scarcity prices in the long run still is only incompletely explored. We thus analyze investment of firms in base load and peak load technologies in a market with fluctuating demand under imperfect competition. We show that an appropriately chosen limitation of scarcity prices is not only beneficial in the short run but also in the long run. It leads to a strict increase of investment in peak load technologies, leaving investment in base load technologies unchanged. Furthermore, we characterize the optimal limit on scarcity prices.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Industrial Organization.

    Volume (Year): 29 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 5 (September)
    Pages: 589-605

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:29:y:2011:i:5:p:589-605

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

    Related research

    Keywords: Investment incentives Fluctuating demand Scarcity rents Missing money;

    References

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    1. de Frutos, María-Ángeles & Fabra, Natalia, 2011. "Endogenous capacities and price competition: The role of demand uncertainty," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 399-411, July.
    2. GABSZEWICZ, Jean J. & PODDAR , Sougata, 1995. "Demand Fluctuations and Capacity Utilization under Duopoly," CORE Discussion Papers 1995051, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    3. Klemperer, Paul D & Meyer, Margaret A, 1989. "Supply Function Equilibria in Oligopoly under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1243-77, November.
    4. Green, Richard & Newbery, David M G, 1991. "Competition in the British Electricity Spot Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 557, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Boom, Anette, 2009. "Vertically integrated firms' investments in electricity generating capacities," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 544-551, July.
    6. David M. Kreps & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1983. "Quantity Precommitment and Bertrand Competition Yield Cournot Outcomes," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 326-337, Autumn.
    7. Paul Joskow & Jean Tirole, 2004. "Reliability and Competitive Electricity Markets," Working Papers 0408, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
    8. Robert Earle & Karl Schmedders & Tymon Tatur, 2007. "On Price Caps Under Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 93-111.
    9. von der Fehr, Nils-Henrik Morch & Harbord, David, 1993. "Spot Market Competition in the UK Electricity Industry," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(418), pages 531-46, May.
    10. Grimm Veronika & Zöttl Gregor, 2010. "Price Regulation under Demand Uncertainty," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-34, June.
    11. Severin Borenstein & James B. Bushnell & Frank A. Wolak, 2002. "Measuring Market Inefficiencies in California's Restructured Wholesale Electricity Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1376-1405, December.
    12. Crew, Michael A & Fernando, Chitru S & Kleindorfer, Paul R, 1995. "The Theory of Peak-Load Pricing: A Survey," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 215-48, November.
    13. Catherine D. Wolfram, 1999. "Measuring Duopoly Power in the British Electricity Spot Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 805-826, September.
    14. Reynolds, Stanley S. & Wilson, Bart J., 2000. "Bertrand-Edgeworth Competition, Demand Uncertainty, and Asymmetric Outcomes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 122-141, May.
    15. Bolle, Friedel, 1992. "Supply function equilibria and the danger of tacit collusion : The case of spot markets for electricity," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 94-102, April.
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