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Estimate of Search Cost Frictions in the British Electricity Market


  • Monica Giulietti

    (Nottingham University Business School)

  • Michael Waterson

    (University of Warwick)

  • Matthijs R. Wildenbeest

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)


This paper studies consumer search and pricing behaviour in the British domestic electricity market following its opening to competition in 1999. We develop a sequential search model in which an incumbent and an entrant group compete for consumers who find it costly to obtain information on prices other than from their current supplier. We use a large data set on prices and input costs to structurally estimate the model. Our estimates indicate that consumer search costs must be relatively high in order to rationalize observed pricing patterns. We confront our estimates with observed switching behaviour and find they match well.

Suggested Citation

  • Monica Giulietti & Michael Waterson & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2010. "Estimate of Search Cost Frictions in the British Electricity Market," Working Papers 2010-09, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2010-09

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2006. "The Log of Gravity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 641-658, November.
    2. Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra, 2008. "The effectiveness of laws against bribery abroad," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 39(4), pages 634-651, June.
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    More about this item


    electricity; consumer search; price competition;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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