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Strategic Interaction vs. Regulatory Compliance among Regulated Utilities: The Swedish Water Sector

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  • Lundin, Erik

    () (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

Abstract

This study provides the first empirical test of strategic interactions in the pricing decisions of regulated utilities. Since publicly owned water utilities in Sweden are governed by a cost-of-service regulation, prices in neighboring municipalities should not affect the own price other than through spatially correlated cost factors. In contrast, spatial dependence is pronounced. This behavior can be explained in terms of an informal yardstick competition: When consumers use neighboring utilities' prices as benchmarks for costs or as behaviorally based reference prices, utilities will face the risk of consumer complaints and successive regulatory reviews if deviating too much from neighbors' prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Lundin, Erik, 2013. "Strategic Interaction vs. Regulatory Compliance among Regulated Utilities: The Swedish Water Sector," Working Paper Series 998, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0998
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Federico Belotti & Gordon Hughes & Andrea Piano Mortari, 2013. "xsmle: A Stata command for spatial panel-data models estimation," German Stata Users' Group Meetings 2013 09, Stata Users Group.
    2. David M. Drukker & Ingmar Prucha & Rafal Raciborski, 2013. "Maximum likelihood and generalized spatial two-stage least-squares estimators for a spatial-autoregressive model with spatial-autoregressive disturbances," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 13(2), pages 221-241, June.
    3. Bivand, Roger & Szymanski, Stefan, 1997. "Spatial dependence through local yardstick competition:: theory and testing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 257-265, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Yardstick competition; Spatial econometrics; Public economics; Utilities;

    JEL classification:

    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
    • L90 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - General

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