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Economies of scale and optimal capital in nuclear and fossil fuel electricity production

  • Russell Rhine
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    This paper tests for economies of scale in the electric utility industry using a five-year panel data set that includes both fossil fuel and nuclear fuel electricity generation. In addition, a variable cost function is used as opposed to a total cost function because the assumption of cost-minimizing production inputs is not met. That is, electric utilities are overcapitalized. Therefore, the optimal capital stock is estimated, which is significantly less than the actual capital stock, and an estimate of economies of scale is generated. Evidence suggests that firms are operating on the negatively sloped portion of the long-run average cost curve near the trough. This indicates either slight economies of scale or no economies of scale. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2001

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    Article provided by International Atlantic Economic Society in its journal Atlantic Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 29 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 203-214

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:29:y:2001:i:2:p:203-214
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    1. Christensen, Laurits R & Greene, William H, 1976. "Economies of Scale in U.S. Electric Power Generation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 655-76, August.
    2. Guilkey, David K & Lovell, C A Knox & Sickles, Robin C, 1983. "A Comparison of the Performance of Three Flexible Functional Forms," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(3), pages 591-616, October.
    3. Stratford Douglas & Thomas A. Garrett & Russell M. Rhine, 2009. "Disallowances and overcapitalization in the U.S. electric utility industry," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 23-32.
    4. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
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