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The impact of privatization and regulation on the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales: a translog cost function model

  • David S Saal

    (Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)

  • David Parker

    (Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)

After the ten Regional Water Authorities (RWAs) of England and Wales were privatized in November 1989, the successor Water and Sewerage Companies (WASCs) faced a new regulatory regime that was designed to promote economic efficiency while simultaneously improving drinking water and environmental quality. As legally mandated quality improvements necessitated a costly capital investment programme, the industry's economic regulator, the Office of Water Services (Ofwat), implemented a retail price index (RPI)+K pricing system, which was designed to compensate the WASCs for their capital investment programme while also encouraging gains in economic efficiency. In order to analyse jointly the impact of privatization, as well as the impact of increasingly stringent economic and environmental regulation on the WASCs' economic performance, this paper estimates a translog multiple output cost function model for the period 1985-1999. Given the significant costs associated with water quality improvements, the model is augmented to include the impact of drinking water quality and environmental quality on total costs. The model is then employed to determine the extent of scale and scope economies in the water and sewerage industry, as well as the impact of privatization and economic regulation on economic efficiency. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/mde.988
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Managerial and Decision Economics.

Volume (Year): 21 (2000)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 253-268

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Handle: RePEc:wly:mgtdec:v:21:y:2000:i:6:p:253-268
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/7976

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  1. Panzar, John C., 1989. "Technological determinants of firm and industry structure," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-59 Elsevier.
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  8. Christensen, Laurits R & Jorgenson, Dale W & Lau, Lawrence J, 1973. "Transcendental Logarithmic Production Frontiers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 55(1), pages 28-45, February.
  9. Melvyn A. Fuss & Leonard Waverman, 1981. "Regulation and the Multiproduct Firm: The Case of Telecommunications in Canada," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Public Regulation, pages 277-328 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Morana, Claudio & Sawkins, John W, 2000. "Regulatory Uncertainty and Share Price Volatility: The English and Welsh Water Industry's Periodic Price Review," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 87-100, January.
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  12. Saal, David S & Parker, David, 2001. "Productivity and Price Performance in the Privatized Water and Sewerage Companies of England and Wales," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 61-90, July.
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