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Deregulation, Consolidation, and Efficiency: Evidence from US Nuclear Power

  • Lucas W. Davis
  • Catherine Wolfram

Beginning in the late 1990s, electricity markets in many US states were deregulated, and almost half of the nation's 103 nuclear power reactors were sold to independent power producers. Deregulation has been accompanied by substantial market consolidation, and today the three largest companies control one-third of US nuclear capacity. We find that deregulation and consolidation are associated with a 10 percent increase in operating performance, achieved primarily by reducing the duration of reactor outages. At average wholesale prices, this increased operating performance is worth $2.5 billion annually and implies an annual decrease of 35 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. (JEL L11, L51, L94, L98, Q42, Q48)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 194-225

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:194-225
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.4.4.194
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  1. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
  2. James B. Bushnell & Erin T. Mansur & Celeste Saravia, 2008. "Vertical Arrangements, Market Structure, and Competition: An Analysis of Restructured US Electricity Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 237-66, March.
  3. Christopher R. Knittel, 2002. "Alternative Regulatory Methods And Firm Efficiency: Stochastic Frontier Evidence From The U.S. Electricity Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 530-540, August.
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