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Restructuring, Ownership and Efficiency: The Case of Labor in Electricity Generation

Author

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  • Jennifer K. Shanefelter

    (Economic Analysis Group, Antitrust Division, Department of Justice)

Abstract

This analysis considers improvements in productive efficiency that can result from a movement from a regulated framework to one that allows for market-based incentives for industry participants. Specifically, I look at the case of restructuring in the electricity generation industry. As numerous industries and economies have undergone this sort of transition to varying degrees, it is instructive to assess the performance of market-based incentives relative to what was observed under tighter regulation. Using data from the electricity industry, this analysis considers the total effect of restructuring on one input to the production process – labor – as reflected in employment levels, payroll per employee and aggregate establishment payroll. Using concurrent payroll and employment data from non-utility (“merchant”) and utility generators in both restructured and nonrestructured states, I estimate the effect of market liberalization, comprising both new entry and state-level legislation, on employment and payroll in this industry. I find that merchant owners of divested generation assets employ significantly fewer people, but that the payroll per employee is not significantly different from what workers at utility-owned plants are paid. As a result, the new merchant owners of these plants have significantly lower aggregate payroll expenses. Decomposing the effect into a merchant effect and a divestiture effect, I find that merchant ownership is the primary driver of these results.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer K. Shanefelter, 2008. "Restructuring, Ownership and Efficiency: The Case of Labor in Electricity Generation," EAG Discussions Papers 200812, Department of Justice, Antitrust Division.
  • Handle: RePEc:doj:eagpap:200812
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    File URL: https://www.justice.gov/atr/public/eag/240245.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jose E. Galdon Sanchez & James A. Schmitz, 2003. "Competitive pressure and labor productivity: world iron ore markets in the 1980s," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 9-23.
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    3. Rose, Nancy L, 1987. "Labor Rent Sharing and Regulation: Evidence from the Trucking Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1146-1178, December.
    4. Kira R. Fabrizio & Nancy L. Rose & Catherine D. Wolfram, 2007. "Do Markets Reduce Costs? Assessing the Impact of Regulatory Restructuring on US Electric Generation Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1250-1277, September.
    5. David Card, 1986. "The Impact of Deregulation on the Employment and Wages of Airline Mechanics," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(4), pages 527-538, July.
    6. Wallace Hendricks, 1975. "The Effect of Regulation on Collective Bargaining in Electric Utilities," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(2), pages 451-465, Autumn.
    7. Christensen, Laurits R & Greene, William H, 1976. "Economies of Scale in U.S. Electric Power Generation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 655-676, August.
    8. Jeffry M. Netter & William L. Megginson, 2001. "From State to Market: A Survey of Empirical Studies on Privatization," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 321-389, June.
    9. Bailey, Elizabeth E, 1986. "Price and Productivity Change Following Deregulation: The U.S. Experience," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(381), pages 1-17, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Energy; Electricity; Restructuring; Regulation; Labor;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • L43 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

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