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Do mergers improve efficiency? Evidence from restructuring the US electric power sector

  • Kwoka, John
  • Pollitt, Michael

This paper analyses the performance impact of the merger wave which took place in the US electricity industry during the period 1994-2003. It does so by analyzing the impact on operating and total cost in electricity distribution. While there are past studies of efficiency and productivity effects, as well as of prices, profits, and other outcomes, this study differs in several ways. First, the database consists of many merging and non-merging firms, rather than only a few on which to base inferences. Second, all of these mergers arise in a single industry, greatly facilitating controlled comparison. Third, we have data on the several years of pre-merger and post-merger efficiency of the specific merging units, unlike virtually all past studies. Finally, we employ a powerful nonparametric technique--data envelopment analysis--to measure the efficiency of each operating unit. The results indicate that electricity mergers are not consistent with improved cost performance.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 28 (2010)
Issue (Month): 6 (November)
Pages: 645-656

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Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:28:y:2010:i:6:p:645-656
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

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  1. Berry, S Keith, 2000. "Excess Returns in Electric Utility Mergers during Transition to Competition," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 175-88, September.
  2. R. D. Banker & A. Charnes & W. W. Cooper, 1984. "Some Models for Estimating Technical and Scale Inefficiencies in Data Envelopment Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(9), pages 1078-1092, September.
  3. Ray, Dennis J & Thompson, Howard E, 1990. ""Fifty in Five": The Prospects for Merger in the Electric Utility Industry," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 111-28, June.
  4. Kwoka, John E., 2002. "Vertical economies in electric power: evidence on integration and its alternatives," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 653-671, May.
  5. Domah, P. & Pollitt, M.G., 2000. "The Restructuring and Privatisation of Electricity Distribution and Supply Businesses in England and Wales: A Social Cost Benefit Analysis," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0007, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  6. John Becker-Blease & Lawrence Goldberg & Fred Kaen, 2008. "Mergers and acquisitions as a response to the deregulation of the electric power industry: value creation or value destruction?," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 21-53, February.
  7. Fare, R. & Grosskopf, S. & Logan, J., 1985. "The relative performance of publicly-owned and privately-owned electric utilities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 89-106, February.
  8. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
  10. J. David Cummins & Sharon Tennyson & Mary A. Weiss, 1998. "Consolidation and efficiency in the U.S. life insurance industry," Working Papers 98-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  11. Klaus Gugler & Dennis C. Mueller & B. Burcin Yurtoglu & Christine Zulehner, 2001. "The Effects of Mergers: An International Comparison," CIG Working Papers FS IV 01-21, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  12. Jamasb, Tooraj & Pollitt, Michael, 2003. "International benchmarking and regulation: an application to European electricity distribution utilities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(15), pages 1609-1622, December.
  13. Kaserman, David L & Mayo, John W, 1991. "The Measurement of Vertical Economies and the Efficient Structure of the Electric Utility Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(5), pages 483-502, September.
  14. Kira R. Fabrizio & Nancy L. Rose & Catherine D. Wolfram, 2007. "Do Markets Reduce Costs? Assessing the Impact of Regulatory Restructuring on US Electric Generation Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1250-1277, September.
  15. Anderson, James Earl, 1999. "Making Operational Sense of Mergers and Acquisitions," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 12(7), pages 49-59, August.
  16. Jamasb, T. & Pollitt, M., 2000. "Benchmarking and regulation: international electricity experience," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 107-130, September.
  17. Gregor Andrade & Mark Mitchell & Erik Stafford, 2001. "New Evidence and Perspectives on Mergers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 103-120, Spring.
  18. Robert H. McGuckin & Sang V. Nguyen, 1995. "On Productivity and Plant Ownership Change: New Evidence from the Longitudinal Research Database," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(2), pages 257-276, Summer.
  19. Gilsdorf, Keith, 1994. "Vertical integration efficiencies and electric utilities: A cost complementarity perspective," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 261-282.
  20. Leggio, Karyl B & Lien, Donald, 2000. "Mergers in the Electric Utility Industry in a Deregulatory Environment," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 69-85, January.
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