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Economies of Scale and Scope in the Swiss Multi-Utilities Sector

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  • Mehdi Farsi

    ()
    (Center for Energy Policy and Economics CEPE, Department of Management, Technology and Economics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

  • Aurelio Fetz

    ()
    (Center for Energy Policy and Economics CEPE, Department of Management, Technology and Economics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

  • Massimo Filippini

    ()
    (Center for Energy Policy and Economics CEPE, Department of Management, Technology and Economics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

Abstract

This paper explores the economies of scale and scope in the electricity, gas and water utilities. These issues have a crucial importance in the actual policy debates about unbundling the integrated utilities into separate entities, a policy which has often been supported by the ongoing reforms in the deregulation of network industries. This paper argues that the potential improvements in efficiency through unbundling should be assessed against the loss of scope economies. Several econometric specifications including a random-coefficient model have been used to estimate a cost function for a sample of utilities distributing electricity, gas and/or water to the Swiss population. The estimates of scale and scope economies have been compared across different models and the effect of heterogeneity among companies have been explored. While indicating considerable scope and scale economies overall, the results suggest a significant variation in scope economies across companies due to unobserved heterogeneity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CEPE Center for Energy Policy and Economics, ETH Zurich in its series CEPE Working paper series with number 07-59.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cee:wpcepe:07-59

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  1. Pulley, Lawrence B & Humphrey, David B, 1993. "The Role of Fixed Costs and Cost Complementarities in Determining Scope Economies and the Cost of Narrow Banking Proposals," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66(3), pages 437-62, July.
  2. Chamberlain, Gary, 1982. "Multivariate regression models for panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 5-46, January.
  3. Pulley, Lawrence B & Braunstein, Yale M, 1992. "A Composite Cost Function for Multiproduct Firms with an Application to Economies of Scope in Banking," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 221-30, May.
  4. E. Martínez-Budría & S. Jara-Díaz & F. Ramos-Real, 2003. "Adapting Productivity Theory to the Quadratic Cost Function. An Application to the Spanish Electric Sector," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 213-229, September.
  5. Giovanni Fraquelli & Massimiliano Piacenza & Davide Vannoni, 2004. "Scope and scale economies in multi-utilities: evidence from gas, water and electricity combinations," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(18), pages 2045-2057.
  6. A. Yatchew, 2000. "Scale economies in electricity distribution: a semiparametric analysis," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(2), pages 187-210.
  7. Reto Foellmi & Urs Meister, 2005. "Product-Market Competition in the Water Industry: Voluntary Non-discriminatory Pricing," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 115-135, June.
  8. Featherstone, Allen M. & Moss, Charles B., 1993. "Measuring Economies of Scale and Scope in Agricultural Banking," Proceedings: 1993 Regional Committee NC-207, October 4-5, 1993, Chicago, Illinois 131339, Regional Research Committee NC-1014: Agricultural and Rural Finance Markets in Transition.
  9. Caves, Douglas W & Christensen, Laurits R & Tretheway, Michael W, 1980. "Flexible Cost Functions for Multiproduct Firms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(3), pages 477-81, August.
  10. Mehdi Farsi & Aurelio Fetz & Massimo Filippini, 2007. "Economies of Scale and Scope in Local Public Transportation," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and University of Bath, vol. 41(3), pages 345-361, September.
  11. Sing, Merrile, 1987. "Are Combination Gas and Electric Utilities Multiproduct Natural Monopolies?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(3), pages 392-98, August.
  12. Tovar, B. & Jara-Diaz, S. & Trujillo, L., 2007. "Econometric estimation of scale and scope economies within the port sector: a review," Working Papers 07/04, Department of Economics, City University London.
  13. Panzar, John C., 1989. "Technological determinants of firm and industry structure," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-59 Elsevier.
  14. Piacenza, Massimiliano & Vannoni, Davide, 2004. "Choosing among alternative cost function specifications: an application to Italian multi-utilities," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 415-422, March.
  15. Reto Föllmi & Urs Meister, . "Product-Market Competition in the Water Industry: Voluntarily Nondiscriminatory Pricing," IEW - Working Papers 115, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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Cited by:
  1. Elisabetta Ottoz & Marina Di Giacomo, 2012. "Diversification strategies and scope economies: evidence from a sample of Italian regional bus transport providers," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(22), pages 2867-2880, August.
  2. Fetz, Aurelio & Filippini, Massimo, 2010. "Economies of vertical integration in the Swiss electricity sector," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1325-1330, November.
  3. Anna Bottasso & Maurizio Conti & Massimiliano Piacenza & Davide Vannoni, 2010. "The Appropriateness of the Poolability Assumption for Multiproduct Technologies: Evidence from the English Water and Sewerage Utilities," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 183, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  4. Carvalho, Pedro & Marques, Rui Cunha & Berg, Sanford, 2012. "A meta-regression analysis of benchmarking studies on water utilities market structure," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 40-49.

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