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Identification and Estimation of Cost Functions Using Observed Bid Data: An Application to Electricity Markets

  • Frank A. Wolak
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    This paper presents several techniques for recovering cost function estimates for electricity generation from a model of optimal bidding behavior in a competitive electricity market. Two techniques are developed based on different models of the price-setting process in a competitive electricity market. The first assumes that the firm is able to choose the price that maximizes its realized profits given the bids of its competitors and the realization of market demand. This procedure is straightforward to apply, but does not impose all of the market rules on the assumed price-setting process. The second procedure uses the assumption that the firm bids to maximize its expected profits. This procedure is considerably more complex, but can yield more insights about the nature of the firm's variable costs, because it allows the researcher to recover generation unit-level variable cost functions. These techniques are applied to bid, market outcomes and financial hedge contract data obtained from the first three months of operation of the National Electricity Market (NEM1) in Australia. The empirical analysis illustrates the usefulness of these techniques in measuring actual market power and the ability to exercise market power possessed by generation unit owners in competitive electricity markets.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8191.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8191.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8191
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    1. Robert H. Porter, 1983. "A Study of Cartel Stability: The Joint Executive Committee, 1880-1886," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 301-314, Autumn.
    2. Bresnahan, Timothy F, 1987. "Competition and Collusion in the American Automobile Industry: The 1955 Price War," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 457-82, June.
    3. Bresnahan, Timothy F., 1981. "Departures from marginal-cost pricing in the American automobile industry : Estimates for 1977-1978," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 201-227, November.
    4. Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
    5. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1995. "Product Differentiation and Oligopoly in International Markets: The Case of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 891-951, July.
    6. Green, Richard J & Newbery, David M, 1992. "Competition in the British Electricity Spot Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 929-53, October.
    7. 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.
    8. Rosse, James N, 1970. "Estimating Cost Function Parameters without Using Cost Data: Illustrated Methodology," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(2), pages 256-75, March.
    9. Klemperer, Paul D & Meyer, Margaret A, 1989. "Supply Function Equilibria in Oligopoly under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1243-77, November.
    10. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
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