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Application of Panel Data Models in Benchmarking Analysis of the Electrivity Distribution Sector

  • Mehdi Farsi


    (Center for Energy Policy and Economics CEPE, Department of Management, Technology and Economics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

  • Massimo Filippini


    (Center for Energy Policy and Economics CEPE, Department of Management, Technology and Economics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

  • William Greene

    (Department of Economics, Stern School of Business, New York University, 44 West 4th St., New York, NY 10012, USA)

This paper explores the application of several panel data models in measuring productive efficiency of the electricity distribution sector. Stochastic Frontier Analysis has been used to estimate the cost-efficiency of 59 distribution utilities operating over a nine-year period in Switzerland. The estimated coefficients and inefficiency scores are compared across three different panel data models. The results indicate that individual efficiency estimates are sensitive to the econometric specification of unobserved firm-specific heterogeneity. When these factors are considered as a separate stochastic term, the efficiency estimates are substantially higher indicating that conventional models could confound efficiency differences with other unobserved variations among companies. The results suggest that alternative panel models such as the “true” random effects model proposed by Greene (2005) could be used to evaluate the possible impacts of unobserved factors such as network effects on efficiency estimates.

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Paper provided by CEPE Center for Energy Policy and Economics, ETH Zurich in its series CEPE Working paper series with number 05-39.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cee:wpcepe:05-39
Contact details of provider: Postal: ETH-CEPE, Zürichbergstrasse 18, 8032 Zürich
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  1. Antonioli, B. & Filippini, M., 2001. "The use of a variable cost function in the regulation of the Italian water industry," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 10(3-4), pages 181-187.
  2. Simar, L., 1991. "Estimating efficiencies from frontier models with panel data: a comparison of parametric, non-parametric and semi-parametric methods with boot strapping," CORE Discussion Papers 1991026, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Mehdi Farsi & Massimo Filippini, 2004. "Regulation and Measuring Cost-Efficiency with Panel Data Models: Application to Electricity Distribution Utilities," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 1-19, 08.
  4. Greene, William H., 1980. "Maximum likelihood estimation of econometric frontier functions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 27-56, May.
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  9. Estache, Antonio & Rossi, Martin A. & Ruzzier, Christian A., 2002. "The case for international coordination of electricity regulation : evidence from the measurement of efficiency in South America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2907, The World Bank.
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  11. William Greene, 2004. "Distinguishing between heterogeneity and inefficiency: stochastic frontier analysis of the World Health Organization's panel data on national health care systems," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(10), pages 959-980.
  12. Jamasb, T. & Pollitt, M., 2000. "Benchmarking and regulation: international electricity experience," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 107-130, September.
  13. Andrew Street, 2003. "How much confidence should we place in efficiency estimates?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(11), pages 895-907.
  14. Mehdi Farsi & Massimo Filippini & Michael Kuenzle, 2004. "Cost Efficiency in Regional Bus Companies: An Application of Alternative Stochastic Frontier Models," CEPE Working paper series 04-33, CEPE Center for Energy Policy and Economics, ETH Zurich.
  15. Simar, L. & Wilson, P.W., 1999. "Statistical Inference in Nonparametric Frontier Models: the State of the Art," Papers 9904, Catholique de Louvain - Institut de statistique.
  16. Tim Coelli & Antonio Estache & Sergio Perelman & Lourdes Trujillo, 2003. "A Primer on Efficiency Measurement for Utilities and Transport Regulators," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15149.
  17. Uwe Jensen, 2000. "Is it efficient to analyse efficiency rankings?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 189-208.
  18. Léopold Simar, 2003. "Detecting Outliers in Frontier Models: A Simple Approach," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 391-424, November.
  19. Mehdi Farsi & Massimo Filippini & William Greene, 2004. "Efficiency Measurement in Network Industries: Application to the Swiss Railway Companies," CEPE Working paper series 04-32, CEPE Center for Energy Policy and Economics, ETH Zurich.
  20. Paul W. Bauer & Allen N. Berger & Gary D. Ferrier & David B. Humphrey, 1997. "Consistency conditions for regulatory analysis of financial institutions: a comparison of frontier efficiency methods," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-50, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  21. Meeusen, Wim & van den Broeck, Julien, 1977. "Efficiency Estimation from Cobb-Douglas Production Functions with Composed Error," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 18(2), pages 435-44, June.
  22. Nillesen , P.H.L. & Pollitt, M.G., 2004. "The Consequences for Consumer Welfare of the 2001-2003 Electricity Distribution Price Review in The Netherlands," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0446, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  23. Schmidt, Peter & Sickles, Robin C, 1984. "Production Frontiers and Panel Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(4), pages 367-74, October.
  24. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
  25. Polachek, Solomon W & Yoon, Bong Joon, 1996. "Panel Estimates of a Two-Tiered Earnings Frontier," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(2), pages 169-78, March-Apr.
  26. Greene, William, 2005. "Reconsidering heterogeneity in panel data estimators of the stochastic frontier model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 126(2), pages 269-303, June.
  27. Irastorza, Veronica, 2003. "Benchmarking for Distribution Utilities: A Problematic Approach to Defining Efficiency," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 16(10), pages 30-38, December.
  28. Jamasb, Tooraj & Pollitt, Michael, 2003. "International benchmarking and regulation: an application to European electricity distribution utilities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(15), pages 1609-1622, December.
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  30. Mehdi Farsi & Massimo Filippini, 2005. "A Benchmarking Analysis of Electricity Distribution Utilities in Switzerland," CEPE Working paper series 05-43, CEPE Center for Energy Policy and Economics, ETH Zurich.
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