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Vertical integration, separation and non-price discrimination: An empirical analysis of German electricity markets for residential customers

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  • Nikogosian, Vigen
  • Veith, Tobias

Abstract

The literature on vertical integration in markets with regulated upstream prices suggests that the integrated upstream firm might engage in non-price discrimination. Several studies provide policy recommendations derived either from case study approaches or based on theoretical modeling which addresses the unbundling issue. In this study we analyze the impact of vertical integration of retail incumbent and network operator on retail prices and upstream charges. As the vertical structure is heterogeneous across the 850 German electricity submarkets for residential customers (there exist legally unbundled, vertically integrated or fully separated firms), we use firm level data to analyze the effects of different vertical structures and regulation schemes on retail electricity prices. We find significantly higher prices in markets with vertically integrated firms compared to markets with fully separated firms. This finding could indicate non-price discrimination. Furthermore, we find no evidence that legal unbundling eliminates the incentives for non-price discrimination because the prices do not differ from prices in markets under vertical integration. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 11-069.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:11069

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Keywords: electricity; regulation; vertical integration; legal and total unbundling; non-price discrimination;

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  1. Höffler, Felix & Kranz, Sebastian, 2011. "Legal unbundling can be a golden mean between vertical integration and ownership separation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 576-588, September.
  2. Christian Growitsch & T. Jamasb & M. Pollitt, 2005. "Quality of Service, Efficiency, and Scale in Network Industries: An Analysis of European Electricity Distribution," IWH Discussion Papers 3, Halle Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Beard, T Randolph & Kaserman, David L & Mayo, John W, 2001. "Regulation, Vertical Integration and Sabotage," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 319-33, September.
  4. Weisman, Dennis L, 1995. "Regulation and the Vertically Integrated Firm: The Case of RBOC Entry into Interlata Long Distance," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 249-66, November.
  5. Felix Höffler & Sebastian Kranz, 2007. "Imperfect Legal Unbundling of Monopolistic Bottlenecks," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse16_2007, University of Bonn, Germany.
  6. Evens Salies, 2008. "Mergers in the GB electricity market: effects on retail charges," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(11), pages 1483-1490.
  7. David Mandy & David Sappington, 2007. "Incentives for sabotage in vertically related industries," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 235-260, June.
  8. Massimiliano Piacenza & Davide Vannoni, 2009. "Vertical And Horizontal Economies In The Electric Utility Industry: An Integrated Approach," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 80(3), pages 431-450, 09.
  9. Nemoto, Jiro & Goto, Mika, 2004. "Technological externalities and economies of vertical integration in the electric utility industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 67-81, January.
  10. Nillesen, P. & Pollitt, M.G., 2008. "Ownership unbundling in electricity distribution: empircal evidence from New Zealand," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0836, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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  13. Lee, Sang Hyup & Hamilton, Jonathan H, 1999. "Using Market Structure to Regulate a Vertically Integrated Monopolist," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 223-48, May.
  14. Cremer, Helmuth & Crémer, Jacques & De Donder, Philippe, 2006. "Legal vs Ownership Unbundling in Network Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 5767, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Economides, Nicholas, 1998. "The incentive for non-price discrimination by an input monopolist," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 271-284, May.
  16. Pollitt, Michael, 2008. "The arguments for and against ownership unbundling of energy transmission networks," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 704-713, February.
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  18. Faye Steiner, 2001. "Regulation, industry structure and performance in the electricity supply industry," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2001(1), pages 143-182.
  19. Bolle, Friedel & Breitmoser, Yves, 2006. "On the Allocative Efficiency of Ownership Unbundling," Discussion Papers 255, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Department of Business Administration and Economics.
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  21. Vickers, John, 1995. "Competition and Regulation in Vertically Related Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 1-17, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Jean-Michel Glachant & Sophia Ruester, 2013. "The EU Internal Electricity Market: Done Forever?," RSCAS Working Papers 2013/66, European University Institute.
  2. Nikogosian, Vigen & Weigand, Jürgen, 2012. "Forward integration and market entry: Evidence from natural gas markets for household customers in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-062, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Claire Bergaentzlé, 2012. "Particularités d'adoption des compteurs intelligents au Royaume-Uni et en Allemagne : entre marchés de comptage libéralisé et règles à mettre en place pour un réel smart grid intégré," Post-Print halshs-00793322, HAL.

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