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Biases in Static Oligopoly Models? Evidence from the California Electricity Market

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  • Dae-Wook Kim
  • Christopher R. Knittel

Abstract

Estimating market power is often complicated by the lack of reliable measures of marginal cost. Instead, policy-makers often rely on other summary statistics of the market, thought to be correlated with price cost margins---such as concentration ratios or the HHI. In many industries, these summary statistics may be only weakly correlated with deviations from perfectly competitive pricing. Beginning with Gollop and Roberts (1979), a number of empirical studies have allowed the data to identify industry competition and marginal cost levels by estimating the firms' first order condition within a conjectural variations framework. Despite the prevalence of such "New Empirical Industrial Organization" (NEIO) studies, Corts (1999) illustrates the estimated mark-up levels may be biased, since the estimated conjectural variations model forces the supply relationship to be a ray through the marginal cost intercept, whereas this need not be true in dynamic games. In this paper, we use direct measures of marginal cost for the California electricity market to measure the extent to which estimated mark-ups and marginal costs are biased. Our results suggest that the NEIO technique poorly estimates the level of mark-ups and the sensitivity of marginal cost to cost shifters.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10895.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Publication status: published as Kim, Dae-Wook and Christopher R. Knittel. “Biases in Static Oligopoly Models? Evidence from the California Electricity Market.” The Journal of Industrial Economics LIV 4 (December 2006): 451-470.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10895

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Cited by:
  1. Ramteen Sioshansi & Shmuel Oren, 2007. "How good are supply function equilibrium models: an empirical analysis of the ERCOT balancing market," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 1-35, February.
  2. Carlo Russo, 2012. "Estimating Market Power with Weak A Priori Information: An Exploratory Approach to the Model-Specification Problem," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 339-354, June.
  3. Rodrigo Zeidan & Marcelo Resende, 2009. "Measuring Market Conduct in the Brazilian Cement Industry: A Dynamic Econometric Investigation," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 231-244, May.
  4. Cotterill, Ronald W., 2005. "Antitrust Analysis of Supermarket Retailing: Common Global Concerns that Play Out in Local Markets," Research Reports 25184, University of Connecticut, Food Marketing Policy Center.
  5. Abhik Roy & Jagmohan Raju, 2011. "The influence of demand factors on dynamic competitive pricing strategy: An empirical study," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 259-281, September.
  6. Anonymous, 2005. "Antitrust Analysis of Supermarket Retailing: Common Global Concerns that Play Out in Local Markets," 2005 Conference (49th), February 9-11, 2005, Coff's Harbour, Australia 137831, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  7. Meredith Fowlie, 2008. "Incomplete Environmental Regulation, Imperfect Competition, and Emissions Leakage," NBER Working Papers 14421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Cotterill, Ronald W., 2006. "Antitrust analysis of supermarkets: global concerns playing out in local markets," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 50(1), March.

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