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The Guy at the Controls: Labor Quality and Power Plant Efficiency

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  • Bushnell, James
  • Wolfram, Catherine

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of individual human operators on the fuel efficiency of power plants. Although electricity generation is a fuel and capital intensive enterprise, anecdotal evidence, interviews, and empirical analysis support the hypothesis that labor, particularly power plant operators, can have a non-trivial impact on the operating efficiency of the plant. We present evidence to demonstrate these effects and survey the policies and practices of electricity producing firms that either reduce or exacerbate fuel efficiency differences across individual plant operators.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 13137.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:13137

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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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  1. Paul L. Joskow, 1997. "Restructuring, Competition and Regulatory Reform in the U.S. Electricity Sector," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 119-138, Summer.
  2. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341, 04.
  3. Newbery, D.M. & Pollitt, M.G., 1996. "The Restructuring and Privatisation of the CEGB: Was It Worth It?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge 9607, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  4. Christopher R. Knittel, 2002. "Alternative Regulatory Methods And Firm Efficiency: Stochastic Frontier Evidence From The U.S. Electricity Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 530-540, August.
  5. Z, Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1997. "Production Functions : The Search for Identification," Working Papers, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique 97-30, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  6. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
  7. Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti, 2006. "Peers at Work," NBER Working Papers 12508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962, August.
  9. Barton H. Hamilton & Jack A. Nickerson & Hideo Owan, 2003. "Team Incentives and Worker Heterogeneity: An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Teams on Productivity and Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 465-497, June.
  10. G. Steven Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," NBER Working Papers 3977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Christensen, Laurits R & Greene, William H, 1976. "Economies of Scale in U.S. Electric Power Generation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 655-76, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Chad Syverson, 2010. "What Determines Productivity?," NBER Working Papers 15712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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