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Distributional effects of liberalising UK residential utility markets

Author

Listed:
  • Catherine Waddams
  • Ruth Hancock

Abstract

Competition is being extended into residential utility markets world-wide; the European directives on telecoms, electricity and gas will extend choice throughout the European Union by the turn of the century. In the UK, the Privatisation Acts not only changed the ownership of utilities, but imposed a duty on the regulators to encourage competition. It is the introduction of competition,actual and potential, that has been the main force behind changing the relative prices charged to different consumers, particularly in the residential market. We use household-level data to identify the distributional impact, particularly on vulnerable households and those for whom regulators have special responsibilities. We find a mixed outcome, with some vulnerable households, especially pensioners, adversely affected; we suggest potential compensation mechanisms that could improve welfare by enabling the benefits of competition in these industries supplying essential services to be gained without harming the most vulnerable households.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Waddams & Ruth Hancock, 1998. "Distributional effects of liberalising UK residential utility markets," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(3), pages 295-319, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:19:y:1998:i:3:p:295-319
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    File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/fs/articles/waddams_aug98.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Philip Burns & Ian Crawford & Andrew Dilnot, 1995. "Regulation and redistribution in utilities," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 16(4), pages 1-22, January.
    2. Banks, James & Blundell, Richard & Lewbel, Arthur, 1996. "Tax Reform and Welfare Measurement: Do We Need Demand System Estimation?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1227-1241, September.
    3. Newbery, David M & Pollitt, Michael G, 1997. "The Restructuring and Privatization of Britain's CEGB--Was It Worth It?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 269-303, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Evens Salies & Catherine Waddams Price, 2003. "Pricing structure in the deregulated UK electricity market," Sciences Po publications 03-6, Sciences Po.
    2. Evens Salies and Catherine Waddams Price, 2004. "Charges, Costs and Market Power: the Deregulated UK Electricity Retail Market," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 19-36.
    3. Daniele CHECCHI & Massimo FLORIO & Jorge CARRERA, 2004. "Privatization discontent and its determinants: evidence from Latin America," Departmental Working Papers 2004-23, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    4. Ariel Casarin, 2014. "Regulated price reforms and unregulated substitutes: the case of residential piped gas in Argentina," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 34-56, February.
    5. Stephen Davies, Catherine Waddams Price, and Chris M. Wilson, 2014. "Nonlinear Pricing and Tariff Differentiation: Evidence from the British Electricity Market," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
    6. Waddams Price, Catherine & Bennett, Matthew, 1999. "New gas in old pipes: opening the UK residential gas market to competition," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 1-15, March.
    7. Poupeau, François-Mathieu, 2009. "Domestic customers and reform of the gas sector. An organisational sociology perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5385-5392, December.
    8. Andrea Bastianin & Paolo Castelnovo & Massimo Florio, 2017. "The Empirics of Regulatory Reforms Proxied by Categorical Variables: Recent Findings and Methodological Issues," Working Papers 2017.22, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    9. Arocena, Pablo, 2001. "The Reform of the Utilities Sector in Spain," WIDER Working Paper Series 013, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/7172 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Price, Catherine Waddams & Pham, Khac, 2009. "The impact of electricity market reform on consumers," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 43-48, March.
    12. Otero, Jesus & Waddams Price, Catherine, 2001. "Incumbent and entrant response to regulated competition: signaling with accounting costs and market prices2," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 53(2-3), pages 209-223.
    13. Giulietti, Monica & Otero, Jesus, 2002. "The timing of tariff structure changes in regulated industries: evidence from England and Wales," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 71-99, March.
    14. David Parker, 2004. "The UK's Privatisation Experiment: The Passage of Time Permits a Sober Assessment," CESifo Working Paper Series 1126, CESifo Group Munich.
    15. Raffaele Miniaci & Carlo Scarpa & Paola Valbonesi, 2014. "Fuel poverty and the energy benefits system: The Italian case," IEFE Working Papers 66, IEFE, Center for Research on Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    16. Patricia Márquez & Carlos Rufín (ed.), 2011. "Private Utilities and Poverty Alleviation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13551.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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