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

  • Massimo Florio

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.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Review of Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 21 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1-27

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Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:21:y:2007:i:1:p:1-27
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  1. Paolo Liberati, 2005. "UK Privatization and Household Welfare," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 61(2), pages 220-, July.
  2. Rinaldo BRAU & Massimo FLORIO, 2004. "Privatisations as price reforms: Evaluating consumers' welfare changes in the U.K," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 75-76, pages 109-133.
  3. Faye Steiner, 2000. "Regulation, Industry Structure and Performance in the Electricity Supply Industry," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 238, OECD Publishing.
  4. Rafael La Porta & Florencio López-de-Silanes, 1997. "The Benefits of Privatization : Evidence from Mexico," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11583, The World Bank.
  5. David M. Newbery, 2002. "Privatization, Restructuring, and Regulation of Network Utilities," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262640481, June.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
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