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The appropriateness of the poolability assumption for multiproduct technologies: Evidence from the English water and sewerage utilities

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  • Bottasso, Anna
  • Conti, Maurizio
  • Piacenz, Massimiliano
  • Vannoni, Davide

Abstract

The empirical literature on the cost structure of multiproduct firms (e.g., public utilities providing in combination gas, water, and electricity) traditionally assumes a common technology across different products and stages of production, letting the issue of poolability unexplored. The appropriateness of this assumption is tested here by estimating a general cost function for samples of UK specialized and sewerage-diversified water utilities. The results show the existence of both aggregate scale economies and diseconomies of scope; more interestingly, the hypothesis that the two groups of water companies share the same technological parameters is rejected. Given the implications of this finding in terms of optimal industry configuration and possible restructuring policies (e.g., mergers and/or divestitures), our test suggests caution in pooling samples when undertaking empirical studies on data which refer to multiproduct technologies.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Production Economics.

Volume (Year): 130 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 112-117

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Handle: RePEc:eee:proeco:v:130:y:2011:i:1:p:112-117

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ijpe

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Keywords: Multiproduct technologies Water and sewerage utilities Poolability General cost function;

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  1. Mehdi Farsi & Massimo Filippini, 2008. "An Analysis of Cost-Efficiency in Swiss Multi-utilities," CEPE Working paper series 08-60, CEPE Center for Energy Policy and Economics, ETH Zurich.
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  4. Bottasso, Anna & Conti, Maurizio, 2009. "Scale economies, technology and technical change in the water industry: Evidence from the English water only sector," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 138-147, March.
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  8. Anna Bottasso & Maurizio Conti, 2009. "Price cap regulation and the ratchet effect: a generalized index approach," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 191-201, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Thomas Triebs & David S. Saal & Pablo Arocena & Subal C. Kumbhakar, 2012. "Estimating Economies of Scale and Scope with Flexible Technology," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 142, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  2. Eiji Satoh, 2012. "Consolidation and Scale Economies in the Japanese Sewerage Industry," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd12-240, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  3. Anna Bottasso & Maurizio Conti, 2009. "Price cap regulation and the ratchet effect: a generalized index approach," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 191-201, December.

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