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Quality of Service, Efficiency, and Scale in Network Industries: An Analysis of European Electricity Distribution

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  • Christian Growitsch
  • T. Jamasb
  • M. Pollitt

Abstract

Quality of service is of major economic significance in natural monopoly infrastructure industries and is increasingly addressed in regulatory schemes. However, this important aspect is generally not reflected in efficiency analysis of these industries. In this paper we present an efficiency analysis of electricity distribution networks using a sample of about 500 electricity distribution utilities from seven European countries. We apply the stochastic frontier analysis (SFA) method on multi-output translog input distance function models to estimate cost and scale efficiency with and without incorporating quality of service. We show that introducing the quality dimension into the analysis affects estimated efficiency significantly. In contrast to previous research, smaller utilities seem to indicate lower technical efficiency when incorporating quality. We also show that incorporating quality of service does not alter scale economy measures. Our results emphasise that quality of service should be an integrated part of efficiency analysis and incentive regulation regimes, as well as in the economic review of market concentration in regulated natural monopolies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Halle Institute for Economic Research in its series IWH Discussion Papers with number 3.

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Date of creation: Jul 2005
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Handle: RePEc:iwh:dispap:3-05

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Keywords: efficiency; quality of service; scale economies; input distance function; stochastic frontier analysis;

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References

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  1. Antonio Estache & Martin Rossi & Christian Ruzzier, 2004. "The Case for International Coordination of Electricity Regulation: Evidence from the Measurement of Efficiency in South America," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/43975, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Jamasb, T. & Pollitt, M., 2001. "International Benchmarking and Yardstick Regulation: An Application to European Electricity Utilities," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0115, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  3. Meeusen, Wim & van den Broeck, Julien, 1977. "Efficiency Estimation from Cobb-Douglas Production Functions with Composed Error," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 18(2), pages 435-44, June.
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  6. Giannakis, D. & T. Jamasb & Pollitt, M.G., 2004. "Benchmarking and incentive regulation of quality of service: an application to the UK electricity distribution utilities," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0408, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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  16. Ai, Chunrong & Sappington, David E M, 2002. "The Impact of State Incentive Regulation on the U.S. Telecommunications Industry," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 133-59, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Astrid Cullmann, 2012. "Benchmarking and firm heterogeneity: a latent class analysis for German electricity distribution companies," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 147-169, February.
  2. Jamasb, T. & Pollitt, M., 2007. "Incentive Regulation of Electricity Distribution Networks: Lessons of Experience from Britain," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0709, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  3. Tooraj Jamasb & Rabindra Nepal, 2014. "Incentive Regulation and Benchmarking of Network Security," Discussion Papers Series 522, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  4. Tim Coelli & Axel Gautier & Sergio Perelman & Roxana Saplacan-Pop, 2012. "Estimating the cost of improving quality in electric distribution: a parametruc distance function approach," CREPP Working Papers 1202, Centre de Recherche en Economie Publique et de la Population (CREPP) (Research Center on Public and Population Economics) HEC-Management School, University of Liège.
  5. Astrid Cullmann & Christian Hirschhausen, 2008. "Efficiency analysis of East European electricity distribution in transition: legacy of the past?," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 155-167, April.
  6. Rahmatallah Poudineh & Tooraj Jamasb, 2013. "Investment and Efficiency under Incentive Regulation: The Case of the Norwegian Electricity Distribution Networks," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1310, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  7. Abate, Megersa & Lijesen, Mark & Pels, Eric & Roelevelt, Adriaan, 2013. "The impact of reliability on the productivity of railroad companies," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 41-49.
  8. Astrid Cullmann & Hélène Crespo & Marie-Anne Plagnet, 2008. "International Benchmarking in Electricity Distribution: A Comparison of French and German Utilities," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 830, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  9. Fenrick, Steve A. & Getachew, Lullit, 2012. "Cost and reliability comparisons of underground and overhead power lines," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 31-37.
  10. 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.

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