Does Competition Reduce Costs? Assessing the Impact of Regulatory Restructuring on U.S. Electric Generation Efficiency
AbstractAlthough the allocative efficiency benefits of competition are a tenet of microeconomic theory, the relation between competition and technical efficiency is less well understood. Neoclassical models of profit-maximization subsume static cost-minimizing behavior regardless of market competitiveness, but agency models of managerial behavior suggest possible scope for competition to influence cost-reducing effort choices. This paper explores the empirical effects of competition on technical efficiency in the context of electricity industry restructuring. Restructuring programs adopted by many U.S. states made utilities residual claimants to cost savings and increased their exposure to competitive markets. We estimate the impact of these changes on annual generating plant-level input demand for non-fuel operating expenses, the number of employees and fuel use. We find that municipally-owned plants, whose owners were for the most part unaffected by restructuring, experienced the smallest efficiency gains over the past decade. Investor-owned utility plants in states that restructured their wholesale electricity markets had the largest reductions in nonfuel operating expenses and employment, while investorowned plants in nonrestructuring states fell between these extremes. The analysis also highlights the substantive importance of treating the simultaneity of input and output decisions, which we do through an instrumental variables approach.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research in its series Working Papers with number 0418.
Date of creation: Nov 2004
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- Markiewicz, K. & Rose, N.L. & Wolfram, C., 2004. "Does Competition Reduce Costs? Assessing the Impact of Regulatory Restructuring on U.S. Electric Generation Efficiency," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0472, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
- L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
- L43 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation
- L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
- L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
- D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2006-08-12 (All new papers)
- NEP-CSE-2006-08-12 (Economics of Strategic Management)
- NEP-EFF-2006-08-12 (Efficiency & Productivity)
- NEP-ENE-2006-08-12 (Energy Economics)
- NEP-IND-2006-08-12 (Industrial Organization)
- NEP-MIC-2006-08-12 (Microeconomics)
- NEP-REG-2006-08-12 (Regulation)
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