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Dynamics of productivity change in the Australian electricity industry: Assessing the impacts of electricity reform


  • Aghdam, Reza Fathollahzadeh


The Australian electricity industry has undergone a significant reform, since the mid-1990s. Key changes comprised functional unbundling, market restructuring, regulatory reform, public corporatisation and privatisation. Technological development has been another indisputable constituent of these changes, in the wake of ICT revolution. The principle rationale behind these changes has been that they would improve productivity of the industry and social well-being of people. This paper examines the dynamics of productivity changes in the Australian electricity industry and conducts several hypotheses-testings to identify whether industry's efficiency measures are truly improved as a result of the reform-driven changes. Malmquist Total Factor Productivity Index approach and ANOVA are used for this purpose. The results reveal that the productivity gains in the industry have been largely driven by technological improvements and, to a lesser extent, by reform-induced comparative efficiency gains. On average at national level and for the entire industry, there are efficiency gains that, to large extents, can be attributed to functional unbundling and public corporatisation and, to a lesser extent, to market restructuring and privatisation. The results, however, reveal that the reform-driven changes have made insignificant contribution to comparative efficiency, at the level of thermal generation.

Suggested Citation

  • Aghdam, Reza Fathollahzadeh, 2011. "Dynamics of productivity change in the Australian electricity industry: Assessing the impacts of electricity reform," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3281-3295, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:6:p:3281-3295

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nepal, Rabindra & Foster, John, 2015. "Electricity networks privatization in Australia: An overview of the debate," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 12-24.
    2. Oh, Dong-hyun, 2015. "Productivity growth, technical change and economies of scale of Korean fossil-fuel generation companies, 2001–2012: A dual approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 113-121.
    3. Sugathan, Anish & Malghan, Deepak & Chandrashekar, S. & Sinha, Deepak K., 2019. "Downstream electric utility restructuring and upstream generation efficiency: Productivity dynamics of Indian coal and gas based electricity generators," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 832-852.
    4. Mohsen Afsharian & Heinz Ahn, 2015. "The overall Malmquist index: a new approach for measuring productivity changes over time," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 226(1), pages 1-27, March.
    5. Younhee Kim & Dong-hyun Oh & Minah Kang, 2016. "Productivity changes in OECD healthcare systems: bias-corrected Malmquist productivity approach," International Journal of Health Planning and Management, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(4), pages 537-553, October.
    6. Duan, Na & Guo, Jun-Peng & Xie, Bai-Chen, 2016. "Is there a difference between the energy and CO2 emission performance for China’s thermal power industry? A bootstrapped directional distance function approach," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 1552-1563.
    7. Juyong Lee & Youngsang Cho & Yoonmo Koo & Chansoo Park, 2018. "Effects of Market Reform on Facility Investment in Electric Power Industry: Panel Data Analysis of 27 Countries," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(9), pages 1-16, September.
    8. Yoonhwan Oh & Dong-hyun Oh & Jeong-Dong Lee, 2017. "A sequential global Malmquist productivity index: Productivity growth index for unbalanced panel data considering the progressive nature of technology," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 52(4), pages 1651-1674, June.
    9. Toshiyuki Sueyoshi & Youngbok Ryu & Mika Goto, 2020. "Operational Performance of Electric Power Firms: Comparison between Japan and South Korea by Non-Radial Measures," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(15), pages 1-23, August.
    10. Li, Fujia & Dong, Suocheng & Li, Zehong & Li, Yu & Li, Shantong & Wan, Yongkun, 2012. "The improvement of CO2 emission reduction policies based on system dynamics method in traditional industrial region with large CO2 emission," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 683-695.
    11. Verikios, George & Zhang, Xiao-guang, 2013. "Structural change in the Australian electricity industry during the 1990s and the effect on household income distribution: A macro–micro approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 564-575.


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