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Electricity Prices as Signals for the Evaluation of Reforms: An Empirical Analysis of Four European Countries

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  • Massimo Florio

Abstract

This paper looks at price trends as signals for the evaluation of utility reforms. A specific example is considered: electricity prices in four countries, namely France, Germany, Italy and UK. These countries offer a natural experiment in different patterns of public/private ownership and liberalisation of electricity industry. Electricity prices are mainly influenced by the mix of energy inputs, their costs, and by consumption per capita. Under different institutional settings, prices for business users are often more cost-reflective than prices for residential users. Beyond these common features, the evidence does not support the view that there is clear dominance of one industry pattern in terms of welfare change for the representative consumer. This conclusion tends to question the widely held idea that one specific 'orthodox' reform should be preferred: privatisation with liberalisation and vertical disintegration. Utility reforms should be flexible and country-specific.

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo Florio, 2007. "Electricity Prices as Signals for the Evaluation of Reforms: An Empirical Analysis of Four European Countries," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 1-27.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:21:y:2007:i:1:p:1-27
    DOI: 10.1080/02692170601034093
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rinaldo Brau & Massimo Florio, 2004. "Privatisations as price reforms: Evaluating consumers' welfare changes in the U.K," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 75-76, pages 109-133.
    2. Rafael La Porta & Florencio López-de-Silanes, 1999. "The Benefits of Privatization: Evidence from Mexico," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1193-1242.
    3. Paolo Liberati, 2005. "UK Privatization and Household Welfare," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 61(2), pages 220-220, July.
    4. David M. Newbery, 2002. "Privatization, Restructuring, and Regulation of Network Utilities," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262640481, January.
    5. Domah, P. & Pollitt, M.G., 2000. "The Restructuring and Privatisation of Electricity Distribution and Supply Businesses in England and Wales: A Social Cost Benefit Analysis," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0007, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    6. Faye Steiner, 2000. "Regulation, Industry Structure and Performance in the Electricity Supply Industry," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 238, OECD Publishing.
    7. Jamasb, T. & Pollitt, M., 2004. "Electricity Market Reform in the European Union: Review of progress towards liberalisation and integration," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0471, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Pickl, Matthias & Wirl, Franz, 2011. "Auction design for gas pipeline transportation capacity--The case of Nabucco and its open season," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 2143-2151, April.
    2. Hyland, Marie, 2016. "Restructuring European electricity markets – A panel data analysis," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 33-42.
    3. Judith Clifton & Daniel Díaz-Fuentes, 2010. "Evaluating Eu Policies On Public Services: A Citizens' Perspective," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(2), pages 281-311, June.
    4. Poggi, Ambra & Florio, Massimo, 2010. "Energy deprivation dynamics and regulatory reforms in Europe: Evidence from household panel data," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 253-264, January.
    5. Erdogdu, Erkan, 2011. "The impact of power market reforms on electricity price-cost margins and cross-subsidy levels: A cross country panel data analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 1080-1092, March.
    6. Erdogdu, Erkan, 2013. "Essays on Electricity Market Reforms: A Cross-Country Applied Approach," MPRA Paper 47139, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Gugler, Klaus & Rammerstorfer, Margarethe & Schmitt, Stephan, 2013. "Ownership unbundling and investment in electricity markets — A cross country study," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 702-713.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electricity industry; tariffs; public services; utilities reforms;

    JEL classification:

    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • L43 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities

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