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Economic Efficiency and Productivity Growth in the Post-Privatization Chilean Hydroelectric Industry

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  • Scott Atkinson
  • Claudia Halabí

Abstract

Chile’s hydroelectric industry was privatized in 1985, but required to operate within a regulatory framework designed to achieve a competitive outcome. A centralized dispatch center was established to ensure production at minimum cost, subject to constraints on minimum release and minimum reservoir stock. A reluctance to rapidly reduce the industry work force may also have existed. We develop a constrained cost-minimization model for thermal and hydro generation to obtain the shadow price of water and to determine the qualitative effect of these constraints on allocative efficiency. Using panel data from 1986–1997, we assess the economic efficiency of the hydro industry by estimating a stochastic distance frontier and price equations from the dual cost-minimization problem. We find dramatic increases in technical change and productivity change, with positive efficiency change for all years but the last. We also observe a dramatic decline in allocative inefficiencies over our sample period. The share of hydro generation from run-of-river and thermal plants relative to reservoir plants has increased, presumably in reaction to the water release and reservoir stock constraints, reducing the relative over-utilization of capital to water from the pre-1985 regime. Further, the over-utilization of labor to capital and water has fallen over time. However, considerable allocative inefficiencies remain, consistent with our finding of industry-wide scale economies. Substantial cost savings would result if technical and allocative efficiency were eliminated. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Atkinson & Claudia Halabí, 2005. "Economic Efficiency and Productivity Growth in the Post-Privatization Chilean Hydroelectric Industry," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 245-273, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jproda:v:23:y:2005:i:2:p:245-273
    DOI: 10.1007/s11123-005-1329-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pollitt, M. G., 1997. "The Restructuring and Privatisation of the Electricity Supply Industry in Northern Ireland: Will it be Worth it?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9701, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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    1. Seifert, Stefan, 2015. "Productivity Growth and its Sources - A StoNED Metafrontier Analyis of the German Electricity Generating Sector," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112975, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Cesaroni, Giovanni & Kerstens, Kristiaan & Van de Woestyne, Ignace, 2019. "Short- and long-run plant capacity notions: Definitions and comparison," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 275(1), pages 387-397.
    3. See, Kok Fong & Coelli, Tim, 2013. "Estimating and decomposing productivity growth of the electricity generation industry in Malaysia: A stochastic frontier analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 207-214.
    4. Jin, Qianying & Kerstens, Kristiaan & Van de Woestyne, Ignace, 2020. "Metafrontier productivity indices: Questioning the common convexification strategy," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 283(2), pages 737-747.
    5. Tim Coelli & Gholamreza Hajargasht & C.A. Knox Lovell, 2008. "Econometric Estimation of an Input Distance Function in a System of Equations," CEPA Working Papers Series WP012008, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    6. Diaconu, Oana & Oprescu, Gheorghe & Pittman, Russell, 2009. "Electricity reform in Romania," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 114-124, March.
    7. See, Kok Fong & Coelli, Tim, 2014. "Total factor productivity analysis of a single vertically integrated electricity utility in Malaysia using a Törnqvist index method," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 62-72.
    8. Kerstens, Kristiaan & O’Donnell, Christopher & Van de Woestyne, Ignace, 2019. "Metatechnology frontier and convexity: A restatement," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 275(2), pages 780-792.
    9. Cesaroni, Giovanni & Giovannola, Daniele, 2015. "Average-cost efficiency and optimal scale sizes in non-parametric analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 242(1), pages 121-133.
    10. Pittman, Russell, 2007. "Restructuring the Russian electricity sector: Re-creating California?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 1872-1883, March.
    11. Kok Fong See & Tim Coelli, 2009. "The Effects of Competition Policy on TFP Growth: Some Evidence from the Malaysian Electricity Supply Industry," CEPA Working Papers Series WP062009, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    12. See, Kok Fong & Coelli, Tim, 2012. "An analysis of factors that influence the technical efficiency of Malaysian thermal power plants," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 677-685.

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