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Efficient Contracting and Market Power: Evidence from the U.S. Natural Gas Industry


  • R. Glenn Hubbard
  • Robert J. Weiner


It is well recognized by economists that long-term contracting under an array of price and non-price provisions may be an efficient response to small-numbers bargaining problems. Empirical work to distinguish such issues from predictions of models of market power and bargaining has been sparse, principally because the necessary data on individual transactions are seldom publicly available. The U.S. natural gas industry is well suited for such tests both because of the small number of buyers (pipelines) and sellers (producers) in each market and the large capital commitments required of transacting parties at the inning of the contract. We present a model of the bilateral bargaining process is natural gas field markets under uncertainty. We identify the 'initial price' as the outcome of the bargaining aver a fixed payment for pipeline to producer, and describe "price-escalator provisions" as a means of making the contract responsive at the margin to changes in the valuation of gas over the term of the agreement. Our econometric work rakes use of a large, detailed data set on during the l950s. Empirical evidence from models of price determination and the use of most-favored-nation clauses is supportive of the theoretical model.

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  • R. Glenn Hubbard & Robert J. Weiner, 1990. "Efficient Contracting and Market Power: Evidence from the U.S. Natural Gas Industry," NBER Working Papers 3502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3502
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    Cited by:

    1. Costello, Anna M., 2013. "Mitigating incentive conflicts in inter-firm relationships: Evidence from long-term supply contracts," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 19-39.
    2. Catherine Locatelli, 2015. "EU-Russia trading relations: the challenges of a new gas architecture," Post-Print hal-01131203, HAL.
    3. Michelle Hallack & Miguel Vazquez, 2012. "The impact of who decides the rules for network use: A 'common pool' analysis of the investment dynamics in different gas network regulatory frames," RSCAS Working Papers 2012/52, European University Institute.
    4. Hartman, Raymond S. & Tabors, Richard D., 1998. "Optimal operating arrangements in the restructured world: economic issues," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 75-83, February.
    5. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Leach, Andrew & Moreaux, Michel, 2011. "Would hotelling kill the electric car?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 281-296, May.
    6. Catherine Locatelli, 2015. "EU-Russia trading relations: the challenges of a new gas architecture," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 313-329, April.
    7. Sen Wang & Tim Bogle & G. Cornelis van Kooten, 2012. "Forestry and the New Institutional Economics," Working Papers 2012-05, University of Victoria, Department of Economics, Resource Economics and Policy Analysis Research Group.
    8. Crocker, Keith J & Lyon, Thomas P, 1994. "What do Facilitating Practices Facilitate? An Empirical Investigation of Most-Favored-Nation Clauses in Natural Gas Contracts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(2), pages 297-322, October.
    9. Arora, Vipin, 2012. "A Note on Natural Gas Market Evolution in Light of Transaction Cost Theory," MPRA Paper 54974, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Catherine Locatelli, 2012. "Relations UE-Russie : les enjeux d'une nouvelle architecture gazière," Post-Print halshs-00755640, HAL.
    11. Cetin, Tamer & Oguz, Fuat, 2007. "The politics of regulation in the Turkish electricity market," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 1761-1770, March.
    12. Glachant, Jean-Michel & Hallack, Michelle, 2009. "Take-or-pay contract robustness: A three step story told by the Brazil-Bolivia gas case?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 651-657, February.
    13. Cédric Clastres & Catherine Locatelli, 2012. "European Union energy security: the challenges of liberalisation in a risk-prone international environment Society," Post-Print halshs-00787123, HAL.
    14. Chuanlong Tang & Sumner J. La Croix, 1993. "The Role of Transaction-Specific Capital and Market Structure in Contracting: Evidence from Japan's Overseas Coking Coal Procurement," Working Papers 199314, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    15. Michael E. Sykuta, 2010. "Empirical Methods in Transaction Cost Economics," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Transaction Cost Economics, chapter 16 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. De Vany, Arthur & Walls, W. David, 1993. "Network Connectivity and Price Convergency: Gas Pipeline Deregulation," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt9n876133, University of California Transportation Center.
    17. Pierre-André Chiappori & Bernard Salanié, 2002. "Testing Contract Theory : A Survey of Some Recent Work," Working Papers 2002-11, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    18. Constanza Fosco Perea Muñoz & Eduardo Saavedra, "undated". "Mercados de Gas Natual: Análisis Comparado de la Experiencia Internacional," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv150, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
    19. Doane, Michael J & Spulber, Daniel F, 1994. "Open Access and the Evolution of the U.S. Spot Market for Natural Gas," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(2), pages 477-517, October.
    20. repec:eee:enepol:v:109:y:2017:i:c:p:676-684 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Josh Lerner & Robert P. Merges, 1997. "The Control of Strategic Alliances: An Empirical Analysis of Biotechnology Collaborations," NBER Working Papers 6014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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