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Inefficiencies and Market Power in Financial Arbitrage: A Study of California's Electricity Markets

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  • Borenstein, Severin
  • Bushnell, James
  • Knittel, Chris
  • Wolfram, Catherine

Abstract

For two years prior to the collapse of Californiaï¾’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 buyersï¾’ (utilitiesï¾’) incentives and exacerbated the price differentials between the markets.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 13133.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2008
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Industrial Economics, June 2008, vol. 56 no. 2, pp. 347-378
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:13133

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Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
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Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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References

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  1. Zitzewitz, Eric, 2002. "Who Cares About Shareholders? Arbitrage-Proofing Mutual Funds," Research Papers 1749, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  2. Bushnell, James & Mansur, Erin T., 2005. "Consumption Under Noisy Price Signals: A Study of Electricity Retail Rate Deregulation in San Diego," Staff General Research Papers 13142, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Parsley, David C & Wei, Shang-Jin, 1996. "Convergence to the Law of One Price without Trade Barriers or Currency Fluctuations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1211-36, November.
  4. Francis A. Longstaff & Ashley W. Wang, 2004. "Electricity Forward Prices: A High-Frequency Empirical Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1877-1900, 08.
  5. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
  6. Bushnell, James & Wolfram, Catherine, 2008. "Electricity Markets," Staff General Research Papers 31547, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Severin Borenstein, 2007. "Customer Risk from Real-Time Retail Electricity Pricing: Bill Volatility and Hedgability," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 111-130.
  2. Lazarczyk, Ewa, 2013. "Market Specific News and Its Impact on Electricity Prices – Forward Premia," Working Paper Series 953, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 20 Aug 2013.
  3. Rammerstorfer, Margarethe & Wagner, Christian, 2009. "Reforming minute reserve policy in Germany: A step towards efficient markets?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 3513-3519, September.

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