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On optimal scarcity prices

  • Zöttl, Gregor
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    This article contributes to the debate of missing money (compare Joskow(2007a)). This debate has seriously questioned the desirability of limiting scarcity prices in markets with fluctuating demand by emphasizing their potentially negative impact on firms' investment decisions in the long run. A prominent example are recently liberalized electricity markets, where competition authorities have imposed price caps3 or adopted other measures to mitigate high scarcity prices. The impact of reduced scarcity prices in the long run still is only incompletely explored. We thus analyze investment of firms in base load and peak load technologies in a market with fluctuating demand under imperfect competition. We show that an appropriately chosen limitation of scarcity prices is not only beneficial in the short run but also in the long run. It leads to a strict increase of investment in peak load technologies, leaving investment in base load technologies unchanged. Furthermore, we characterize the optimal limit on scarcity prices.

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

    Volume (Year): 29 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 5 (September)
    Pages: 589-605

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:29:y:2011:i:5:p:589-605
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

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    1. Paul Joskow & Jean Tirole, 2004. "Reliability and Competitive Electricity Markets," Working Papers 0408, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
    2. Grimm Veronika & Zöttl Gregor, 2010. "Price Regulation under Demand Uncertainty," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-34, June.
    3. Jean J. Gabszewicz & Sougata Poddar, 1997. "Demand fluctuations and capacity utilization under duopoly," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 131-146.
    4. Robert Earle & Karl Schmedders & Tymon Tatur, 2007. "On Price Caps Under Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 93-111.
    5. de Frutos, Maria-Angeles & Fabra, Natalia, 2007. "Endogenous Capacities and Price Competition: The Role of Demand Uncertainty," CEPR Discussion Papers 6096, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Catherine D. Wolfram, 1999. "Measuring Duopoly Power in the British Electricity Spot Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 805-826, September.
    7. Bolle, Friedel, 1992. "Supply function equilibria and the danger of tacit collusion : The case of spot markets for electricity," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 94-102, April.
    8. Reynolds, Stanley S. & Wilson, Bart J., 2000. "Bertrand-Edgeworth Competition, Demand Uncertainty, and Asymmetric Outcomes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 122-141, May.
    9. Boom, Anette, 2009. "Vertically integrated firms' investments in electricity generating capacities," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 544-551, July.
    10. Green, Richard J & Newbery, David M, 1992. "Competition in the British Electricity Spot Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 929-53, October.
    11. Crew, Michael A & Fernando, Chitru S & Kleindorfer, Paul R, 1995. "The Theory of Peak-Load Pricing: A Survey," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 215-48, November.
    12. David M. Kreps & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1983. "Quantity Precommitment and Bertrand Competition Yield Cournot Outcomes," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 326-337, Autumn.
    13. Klemperer, Paul D & Meyer, Margaret A, 1989. "Supply Function Equilibria in Oligopoly under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1243-77, November.
    14. Von der Fehr, N.H.M. & Harbord, D., 1992. "Spot Market Competition in the UK Electricity Industry," Memorandum 09/1992, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    15. Severin Borenstein & James B. Bushnell & Frank A. Wolak, 2002. "Measuring Market Inefficiencies in California's Restructured Wholesale Electricity Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1376-1405, December.
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