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Deregulation Process, Governance Structures and Efficiency: The U.S. Electric Utility Sector

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  • Delmas, Magali

    (U of California, Santa Barbara and Stanford U)

  • Tokat, Yesim

    (U of Californai, Santa Barbara)

Abstract

This paper is an empirical assessment of the comparative efficiency of governance structures in an environment marked by high uncertainty. We analyze the short-term impact of retail deregulation on the productive efficiency of electric utilities in the United States. We argue that there are transitory costs linked to the process of deregulation. The business strategy literature suggests different governance structures to cope with uncertainty linked to changing regulatory environments. Transaction cost economics suggests that firms may reduce their exposure to the uncertainty created by the process of deregulation by adopting vertical integration strategies. Organizational scholars on the contrary argue that firms vertically disintegrate and adopt flexible governance structures to increase their adaptability to the new conditions. Our empirical analysis is based on 177 investor-owned electric utilities representing 83% of the total U.S. electricity production by utilities from 1998-2001. Our results show that the process of deregulation has a negative impact on firms' productive efficiency measured using Data Envelopment Analysis. However, firms that are vertically integrated into electricity generation or that rely on the market for the supply of their electricity are more efficient than firms that adopt hybrid structures combining vertical integration and contracting.

Suggested Citation

  • Delmas, Magali & Tokat, Yesim, 2003. "Deregulation Process, Governance Structures and Efficiency: The U.S. Electric Utility Sector," Research Papers 1790, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1790
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Manfen Chen & Rohan Christie-David & William Moore, 2007. "Deregulation, news releases, and price discovery," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 289-312, June.
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    6. Oetzel, Jennifer M. & Banerjee, Sudeshna Ghosh, 2008. "A case of the tortoise versus the hare? Deregulation process, timing, and firm performance in emerging markets," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 54-77, February.
    7. Hagen Worch & Bernhard Truffer & Mundia Kabinga & Jochen Markard & Anton Eberhard, 2012. "Tackling the Capability Gap in Utility Firms: Applying Management Research to Infrastructure Sectors," CID Working Papers 55, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
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    15. Mota, R.L., 2004. "‘Comparing Brazil and USA electricity performance; what was the impact of privatisation?’," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0423, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    16. Worch, Hagen & Truffer, Bernhard & Kabinga, Mundia & Eberhard, Anton & Markard, Jochen, 2013. "A capability perspective on performance deficiencies in utility firms," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 1-9.
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    18. John Becker-Blease & Lawrence Goldberg & Fred Kaen, 2008. "Mergers and acquisitions as a response to the deregulation of the electric power industry: value creation or value destruction?," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 21-53, February.
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    22. Jamasb, T. & Newbery, D. & Pollitt, M., 2004. "'Core Indicators for Determinants and Performance of Electricity Sector in Developing Countries’," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0438, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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