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The appropriateness of the poolability assumption for multiproduct technologies: Evidence from the English water and sewerage utilities

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  • Bottasso, Anna
  • Conti, Maurizio
  • Piacenz, Massimiliano
  • Vannoni, Davide

Abstract

The empirical literature on the cost structure of multiproduct firms (e.g., public utilities providing in combination gas, water, and electricity) traditionally assumes a common technology across different products and stages of production, letting the issue of poolability unexplored. The appropriateness of this assumption is tested here by estimating a general cost function for samples of UK specialized and sewerage-diversified water utilities. The results show the existence of both aggregate scale economies and diseconomies of scope; more interestingly, the hypothesis that the two groups of water companies share the same technological parameters is rejected. Given the implications of this finding in terms of optimal industry configuration and possible restructuring policies (e.g., mergers and/or divestitures), our test suggests caution in pooling samples when undertaking empirical studies on data which refer to multiproduct technologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Bottasso, Anna & Conti, Maurizio & Piacenz, Massimiliano & Vannoni, Davide, 2011. "The appropriateness of the poolability assumption for multiproduct technologies: Evidence from the English water and sewerage utilities," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 112-117, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:proeco:v:130:y:2011:i:1:p:112-117
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Bottasso & Maurizio Conti, 2009. "Price cap regulation and the ratchet effect: a generalized index approach," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 191-201, December.
    2. Pointon, Charlotte & Matthews, Kent, 2016. "Dynamic efficiency in the English and Welsh water and sewerage industry," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 86-96.
    3. Abrate, Graziano & Erbetta, Fabrizio & Fraquelli, Giovanni & Vannoni, Davide, 2016. "Bet big on doubles, bet smaller on triples. Exploring scope economies in multi-service passenger transport companies," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 81-88.
    4. Thomas P. Triebs & David S. Saal & Pablo Arocena & Subal C. Kumbhakar, 2016. "Estimating economies of scale and scope with flexible technology," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 173-186, April.
    5. repec:kap:jproda:v:47:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11123-017-0496-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Graziano Abrate & Fabrizio Erbetta & Giovanni Fraquelli & Davide Vannoni, 2014. "Cost function estimation of multi-service firms. Evidence from the passenger transport industry," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 380, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    7. Eiji Satoh, 2012. "Consolidation and Scale Economies in the Japanese Sewerage Industry," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd12-240, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    8. Pointon, Charlotte & Matthews, Kent, 2016. "Reprint of: Dynamic efficiency in the English and Welsh water and sewerage industry," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 98-108.
    9. Triebs, Thomas P. & Saal, David S. & Arocena, Pablo & Kumbhakar, Subal C., 2016. "Estimating economies of scale and scope with flexible technology," Munich Reprints in Economics 43531, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Multiproduct technologies Water and sewerage utilities Poolability General cost function;

    JEL classification:

    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L52 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Industrial Policy; Sectoral Planning Methods
    • L95 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Gas Utilities; Pipelines; Water Utilities

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