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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

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  • David S Saal

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

  • David Parker

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • David S Saal & David Parker, 2000. "The impact of privatization and regulation on the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales: a translog cost function model," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 253-268.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:mgtdec:v:21:y:2000:i:6:p:253-268
    DOI: 10.1002/mde.988
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    References listed on IDEAS

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