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

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

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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13507.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as James B. Bushnell & Erin T. Mansur & Celeste Saravia, 2008. "Vertical Arrangements, Market Structure, and Competition: An Analysis of Restructured US Electricity Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 237-66, March.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13507
Note: EEE IO
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  16. 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.
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  21. 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.
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  26. Mahenc, P. & Salanie, F., 2004. "Softening competition through forward trading," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 282-293, June.
  27. 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.
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