Do Oligopolists Pollute Less? Evidence from a Restructured Electricity Market
AbstractElectricity restructuring has created the opportunity for producers to exercise market power. Oligopolists increase price by distorting output decisions, causing cross-firm production inefficiencies. This study estimates the environmental implications of production inefficiencies attributed to market power in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland electricity market. Air pollution fell substantially during 1999, the year in which both electricity restructuring and new environmental regulation took effect. I find that strategic firms reduced their emissions by approximately 20% relative to other firms and their own historic emissions. Next, I compare observed behavior with estimates of production, and therefore emissions, in a competitive market. According to a model of competitive behavior, changing costs explain approximately two-thirds of the observed pollution reductions. The remaining third can be attributed to firms exercising market power.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13511.
Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
- L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
- L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
- L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
- Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-10-20 (All new papers)
- NEP-COM-2007-10-20 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-ENE-2007-10-20 (Energy Economics)
- NEP-ENV-2007-10-20 (Environmental Economics)
- NEP-MIC-2007-10-20 (Microeconomics)
- NEP-REG-2007-10-20 (Regulation)
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