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Economies of Scale and Scope in the Swiss Multi-Utilities Sector


  • Mehdi Farsi

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

  • Aurelio Fetz

    () (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)


This paper explores the economies of scale and scope in the electricity, gas and water utilities. These issues have a crucial importance in the actual policy debates about unbundling the integrated utilities into separate entities, a policy which has often been supported by the ongoing reforms in the deregulation of network industries. This paper argues that the potential improvements in efficiency through unbundling should be assessed against the loss of scope economies. Several econometric specifications including a random-coefficient model have been used to estimate a cost function for a sample of utilities distributing electricity, gas and/or water to the Swiss population. The estimates of scale and scope economies have been compared across different models and the effect of heterogeneity among companies have been explored. While indicating considerable scope and scale economies overall, the results suggest a significant variation in scope economies across companies due to unobserved heterogeneity.

Suggested Citation

  • Mehdi Farsi & Aurelio Fetz & Massimo Filippini, 2007. "Economies of Scale and Scope in the Swiss Multi-Utilities Sector," CEPE Working paper series 07-59, CEPE Center for Energy Policy and Economics, ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:cee:wpcepe:07-59

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Reto Foellmi & Urs Meister, 2005. "Product-Market Competition in the Water Industry: Voluntary Non-discriminatory Pricing," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 115-135, June.
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    8. A. Yatchew, 2000. "Scale economies in electricity distribution: a semiparametric analysis," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(2), pages 187-210.
    9. Mehdi Farsi & Aurelio Fetz & Massimo Filippini, 2007. "Economies of Scale and Scope in Local Public Transportation," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 41(3), pages 345-361, September.
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    12. Chamberlain, Gary, 1982. "Multivariate regression models for panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 5-46, January.
    13. Caves, Douglas W & Christensen, Laurits R & Tretheway, Michael W, 1980. "Flexible Cost Functions for Multiproduct Firms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(3), pages 477-481, August.
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    15. Giovanni Fraquelli & Massimiliano Piacenza & Davide Vannoni, 2004. "Scope and scale economies in multi-utilities: evidence from gas, water and electricity combinations," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(18), pages 2045-2057.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carvalho, Pedro & Marques, Rui Cunha & Berg, Sanford, 2012. "A meta-regression analysis of benchmarking studies on water utilities market structure," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 40-49.
    2. Fetz, Aurelio & Filippini, Massimo, 2010. "Economies of vertical integration in the Swiss electricity sector," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1325-1330, November.
    3. Zakaria, Muhammad & Noureen, Rabia, 2016. "Benchmarking and regulation of power distribution companies in Pakistan," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 1095-1099.
    4. Elisabetta Ottoz & Marina Di Giacomo, 2012. "Diversification strategies and scope economies: evidence from a sample of Italian regional bus transport providers," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(22), pages 2867-2880, August.
    5. Nisar, Arsalan & Ruiz, Felipe & Palacios, Miguel, 2013. "Organisational learning, strategic rigidity and technology adoption: Implications for electric utilities and renewable energy firms," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 438-445.
    6. Kwansoo Kim & Donghwan An, 2015. "Nonparametric Evaluation of Economies of Scope in the Context of Technical Efficiency: The Case of Rice and Vegetable Farms in Korea," Asian Economic Journal, East Asian Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 285-301, September.
    7. Bottasso, Anna & Conti, Maurizio & Piacenz, Massimiliano & Vannoni, Davide, 2011. "The appropriateness of the poolability assumption for multiproduct technologies: Evidence from the English water and sewerage utilities," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 112-117, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • L95 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Gas Utilities; Pipelines; Water Utilities


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