Heterogeneous effects of regulation on the efficiency of the electricity industry across European Union countries
This paper focuses on the relationship between the stringency of regulation (OECD indicators) and total factor productivity (TFP) growth in the electricity sectors of 19 European Union countries for the period 1994–2007. Both the OECD regulatory indicator and the TFP growth index have been decomposed in order to bring to light a complex picture of interrelations in which the negative impact of the overall regulation on productivity is the result of opposite forces. Estimation results tell us that only the stringency of entry regulation significantly reduces technological change, whereas vertical integration exhibits a negative and significant impact only on the catching up process (pure efficiency change). Lastly, we found an interesting result concerning the explanatory variables of the scale efficiency change: in this case only public ownership matters, in other terms high levels of public in the structure ownership of electric companies guarantee improvements in reaching the optimal scale of production. These heterogeneous effects are also confirmed when we use a different measure of efficiency, that is, the distance of the actual from the optimal reserve margin.
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