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Imperfect Legal Unbundling of Monopolistic Bottlenecks

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  • Felix Höffler
  • Sebastian Kranz

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Abstract

We study an industry with a monopolistic bottleneck (e.g. a transmission network) supplying an essential input to several downstream firms. Under legal unbundling the bottleneck must be operated by a legally independent upstream firm, which may be partly or fully owned by an incumbent active in downstream markets. Access prices are regulated but the upstream firm can perform non-tariff discrimination. Under perfect legal unbundling the upstream firm maximizes only own profits; with imperfections it considers to some extend also the profits of its downstream mother. We find that reducing imperfections in legal unbundling (keeping ownership fixed) generally increases total output. Increasing the incumbent's ownership share increases total output if imperfections are sufficiently small, otherwise the effects are ambiguous. Surprisingly, higher ownership shares of the downstream incumbent may sometimes lead to lower degrees of imperfections. Our analysis suggests that consumers may benefit most from legal unbundling with strong regulation and parts of ownership given to a minority outside shareholder.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Bonn Econ Discussion Papers with number bgse16_2007.

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Length: 14
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse16_2007

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Keywords: Network industries; regulation; vertical relations; ownership; corruption; sabotage;

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References

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  12. Höffler, Felix & Kranz, Sebastian, 2011. "Legal unbundling can be a golden mean between vertical integration and ownership separation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 576-588, September.
  13. Beard, T Randolph & Kaserman, David L & Mayo, John W, 2001. "Regulation, Vertical Integration and Sabotage," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 319-33, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Nikogosian, Vigen & Veith, Tobias, 2011. "Strategic pricing, market entry and competition: Evidence from German electricity submarkets," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-068, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. Nikogosian, Vigen & Veith, Tobias, 2011. "Vertical integration, separation and non-price discrimination: An empirical analysis of German electricity markets for residential customers," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-069, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Schober, Dominik, 2013. "Static vs. dynamic impacts of unbundling: Electricity markets in South America," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-033, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  4. Hunold, Matthias & Röller, Lars-Hendrik & Stahl, Konrad, 2012. "Backwards integration and strategic delegation," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-022, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  5. Raffaele Fiocco, 2011. "Competition and regulation in a differentiated good market," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-084, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  6. Höffler, Felix & Kranz, Sebastian, 2011. "Legal unbundling can be a golden mean between vertical integration and ownership separation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 576-588, September.

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