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Vertical disintegration in the European electricity sector: Empirical evidence on lost synergies

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  • Gugler, Klaus
  • Liebensteiner, Mario
  • Schmitt, Stephan

Abstract

The EU has been promoting unbundling of the transmission grid from other stages of the electricity supply chain with the aim of fostering competition in the upstream stage of electricity generation. At present, ownership unbundling is the predominant form of unbundling in Europe. From a policy perspective, a successful unbundling regime would require that the benefits of increased competition in power generation would at least offset the associated efficiency losses from vertical divestiture. Since evidence on this topic is scarce, this study helps fill this void by empirically estimating the magnitude of economies of vertical integration (EVI) between electricity generation and transmission based on a quadratic cost function. For this purpose we employ unique firm-level panel data of European electricity utilities. Our results confirm the presence of substantial EVI of 14% for the median sized integrated utility. Moreover, EVI tend to increase with firm size.

Suggested Citation

  • Gugler, Klaus & Liebensteiner, Mario & Schmitt, Stephan, 2017. "Vertical disintegration in the European electricity sector: Empirical evidence on lost synergies," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 450-478.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:450-478
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijindorg.2017.04.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Johan WILLNER & Sonja GRÖNBLOM, 2015. "The Organisation of Services of General Interest in Finland," CIRIEC Working Papers 1520, CIRIEC - Université de Liège.
    2. Johan Willner & Sonja Gronblom, 2016. "The organisation of services of general interest in Finland," ECONOMIA PUBBLICA, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2016(3), pages 89-116.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cost function; Economies of vertical integration; Ownership unbundling; Asset specificity; Market complexity; Electricity;

    JEL classification:

    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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