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Vertical Arrangements, Market Structure and Competition: An Analysis of Restructured U.S. Electricity Markets

  • Bushnell, James
  • Mansur, Erin T.
  • Saravia, Celeste

This paper examines vertical arrangements in electricity markets. Vertically integrated wholesalers, or those with long-term contracts, have less incentive to raise wholesale prices when retail prices are determined beforehand. For three restructured markets, we simulate prices that define bounds on static oligopoly equilibria. Our findings suggest that vertical arrangements dramatically affect estimated market outcomes. Had regulators impeded vertical arrangements (as in California), our simulations imply vastly higher prices than observed and production inefficiencies costing over 45 percent of those production costs with vertical arrangements. We conclude that horizontal market structure accurately predicts market performance only when accounting for vertical structure.

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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 13130.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2008
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Publication status: Published in American Economic Review, March 2008, vol. 98 no. 1, pp. 237-266
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:13130
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070

Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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  1. Aleksandr Rudkevich & Max Duckworth & Richard Rosen, 1998. "Modeling Electricity Pricing in a Deregulated Generation Industry: The Potential for Oligopoly Pricing in a Poolco," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 19-48.
  2. Bushnell, James, 2004. "California's electricity crisis: a market apart?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1045-1052, June.
  3. Juan Toro & Natalia Fabra, 2002. "Price Wars and Collusion in the Spanish Electricity Market," Economics Series Working Papers 136, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Erin T. Mansur, 2007. "Measuring Welfare in Restructured Electricity Markets," NBER Working Papers 13509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bushnell, James, 2007. "Oligopoly Equilibria in Electricity Contract Markets," Staff General Research Papers 13135, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  6. Whitney K. Newey & Kenneth D. West, 1986. "A Simple, Positive Semi-Definite, Heteroskedasticity and AutocorrelationConsistent Covariance Matrix," NBER Technical Working Papers 0055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Mahenc, P. & Salanie, F., 2004. "Softening competition through forward trading," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 282-293, June.
  8. Frank Wolak, 2000. "An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Hedge Contracts on Bidding Behavior in a Competitive Electricity Market," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 1-39.
  9. Matti Liski & Juan-Pablo Montero, 2004. "Forward trading and collusion in oligopoly," Working Papers 0412, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  10. Borenstein, Severin & Bushnell, James & Kahn, Edward & Stoft, Steven, 1995. "Market power in California electricity markets," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 219-236.
  11. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 2002. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 88-97, January.
  12. Catherine D. Wolfram, 1999. "Measuring Duopoly Power in the British Electricity Spot Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 805-826, September.
  13. Bushnell, James & Wolfram, Catherine, 2008. "Electricity Markets," Staff General Research Papers 31547, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  14. Severin Borenstein & James Bushnell & Christopher R. Knittel, 1999. "Market Power in Electricity Markets: Beyond Concentration Measures," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 65-88.
  15. Joskow, P.L., 2003. "The Difficult Transition to Competitive Electricity Markets in the U.S," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0328, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  16. Mansur, Erin T, 2007. "Upstream Competition and Vertical Integration in Electricity Markets," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 125-56, February.
  17. Krattenmaker, Thomas G & Salop, Steven C, 1986. "Competition and Cooperation in the Market for Exclusionary Rights," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 109-13, May.
  18. Green, Richard, 1999. "The Electricity Contract Market in England and Wales," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 107-24, March.
  19. Rey, Patrick & Tirole, Jean, 2007. "A Primer on Foreclosure," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
  20. Blaise Allaz & Jean-Luc Vila, 1993. "Cournot Competition, Forward Markets and Efficiency," Post-Print hal-00511806, HAL.
  21. Allaz Blaise & Vila Jean-Luc, 1993. "Cournot Competition, Forward Markets and Efficiency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 1-16, February.
  22. repec:rus:hseeco:210193 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Green, Richard & Newbery, David M G, 1991. "Competition in the British Electricity Spot Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 557, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  24. Steven L. Puller, 2007. "Pricing and Firm Conduct in California's Deregulated Electricity Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 75-87, February.
  25. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119, June.
  26. Klemperer, Paul D & Meyer, Margaret A, 1989. "Supply Function Equilibria in Oligopoly under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1243-77, November.
  27. Richard Schmalensee & Bennett W. Golub, 1984. "Estimating Effective Concentration in Deregulated Wholesale Electricity Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 12-26, Spring.
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