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Pass-Through as a Test for Market Power: An Application to Solar Subsidies

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  • Jacquelyn Pless
  • Arthur A. van Benthem

Abstract

We formalize pass-through over-shifting as a simple yet under-utilized test for market power. We apply this test in the market for solar energy. Specifically, we estimate the pass-through of solar subsidies to solar system prices using rich micro-level transaction and subsidy data from California. Buyers of solar systems capture nearly the full subsidy, while there is more-than- complete pass-through to lessees. We conclude that solar markets are imperfectly competitive by ruling out alternative explanations for over-shifting, and reinforce this conclusion with a test of solar demand curvature. This procedure can serve to detect market power beyond the solar market.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacquelyn Pless & Arthur A. van Benthem, 2017. "Pass-Through as a Test for Market Power: An Application to Solar Subsidies," NBER Working Papers 23260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23260
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    Cited by:

    1. Guo, B. & Castagneto Gissey, G., 2019. "Cost Pass-through in the British Wholesale Electricity Market," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1997, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Asatryan, Zareh & Gomtsyan, David, 2020. "The incidence of VAT evasion," ZEW Discussion Papers 20-027, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    3. à lvarez-Albelo, Carmen D. & Hernández-Martín, Raúl & Padrón-Fumero, Noemi, 2020. "The effects on tourism of airfare subsidies for residents: The key role of packaging strategies," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    4. Nicholas Ryan, 2020. "Holding Up Green Energy," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2294, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    5. Bowei Guo & Giorgio Castagneto Gissey, 2019. "Cost Pass-through in the British Wholesale Electricity Market: Implications of Brexit and the ETS reform," Working Papers EPRG1937, Energy Policy Research Group, Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.
    6. Li, Yumin, 2018. "Incentive pass-through in the California Solar Initiative – An analysis based on third-party contracts," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 534-541.
    7. Orley C. Ashenfelter & Štěpán Jurajda, 2021. "Wages, Minimum Wages, and Price Pass-Through: The Case of McDonald’s Restaurants," NBER Working Papers 28506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Dong, Changgui & Zhou, Runmin & Li, Jiaying, 2021. "Rushing for subsidies: The impact of feed-in tariffs on solar photovoltaic capacity development in China," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 281(C).
    9. Daniele Curzi & Maria Garrone & Alessandro Olper, 2021. "Import Competition and Firm Markups in the Food Industry," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 103(4), pages 1433-1453, August.
    10. Naylor, Jamie & Deaton, B. James & Ker, Alan, 2020. "Assessing the effect of food retail subsidies on the price of food in remote Indigenous communities in Canada," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 93(C).
    11. Evert Reins, 2021. "Seductive subsidies? An analysis of second-degree moral hazard in the context of photovoltaic solar systems," IRENE Working Papers 21-03, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
    12. Reeves, D.C. & Rai, V., 2018. "Strike while the rebate is hot: Savvy consumers and strategic technology adoption timing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 325-335.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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