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Cournot versus supply functions: what does the data tell us?

  • Bert WILLEMS
  • Hannes WEIGT

The liberalization of the electricity sector increases the need for realistic and robust models of the oligopolistic interaction of electricity firms. This paper compares the two most popular models: Cournot and the Supply Function Equilibrium (SFE), and tests which model describes the observed market data best. Using identical demand and supply specifications, both models are calibrated to the German electricity market by varying the contract cover of firms. Our results show that each model explains an identical fraction of the observed price variation. We therefore suggest using Cournot models for short term analysis, as more market details, such as network constraints, can be accommodated. As the SFE model is less sensitive to the choice of the calibration parameters, it might be more appropriate for long term analysis, such as the study of a merger.

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Paper provided by KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers Department of Economics with number ces0720.

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Date of creation: Jul 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces0720
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  11. Delgado, Juan & Moreno, Diego, 2004. "Coalition-proof supply function equilibria in oligopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 231-254, February.
  12. Hu, X. & Ralph, D. & Ralph, E.K. & Bardsley, P. & Ferris, M.C., 2004. "Electricity Generation with Looped Transmission Networks: Bidding to an ISO," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0470, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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  14. Holmberg, Pär, 2004. "Unique Supply Function Equilibrium with Capacity Constraints," Working Paper Series 2004:20, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
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  16. Holmberg, Pär, 2005. "Asymmetric Supply Function Equilibrium with Constant Marginal Costs," Working Paper Series 2005:16, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  17. Jordi Brandts & Paul Pezanis-Christou & Arthur Schram, 2003. "Competition with Forward Contracts: A Laboratory Analysis Motivated by Electricity Market Design," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000172, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  19. Ciarreta, Aitor & Gutierrez-Hita, Carlos, 2006. "Supply function vs. quantity competition in supergames," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 773-783, July.
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