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A meta-regression analysis of benchmarking studies on water utilities market structure


  • Carvalho, Pedro
  • Marques, Rui Cunha
  • Berg, Sanford


This paper updates the literature on water utility benchmarking studies carried out worldwide, focusing on scale and scope economies. Using meta-regression analysis, the study investigates which variables from published studies influence these economies. Our analysis led to several conclusions. The results indicate that there is a higher probability of finding diseconomies of scale and scope in large utilities; however, only the results for scale economies are significant. Diseconomies of scale and scope are more likely to be found in publicly-owned utilities than when the ownership is mostly private; as would be expected, multi-utilities are more likely to have scale and scope economies.

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  • Carvalho, Pedro & Marques, Rui Cunha & Berg, Sanford, 2011. "A meta-regression analysis of benchmarking studies on water utilities market structure," MPRA Paper 32894, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:32894

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    Cited by:

    1. Ruiz-Villaverde, Alberto & González-Gómez, Francisco & J. Picazo- Tadeo, Andrés, 2015. "The privatisation of urban water services: theory and empirical evidence in the case of Spain," INVESTIGACIONES REGIONALES - Journal of REGIONAL RESEARCH, Asociación Española de Ciencia Regional, issue 31, pages 157-174.
    2. Germà Bel & Mildred E. Warner, 2016. "Factors explaining inter-municipal cooperation in service delivery: a meta-regression analysis," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 91-115, June.
    3. Elham Erfanian & Alan R. Collins, 2017. "Charges for Water and Access: What Explains the Differences in West Virginia Municipalities?," Working Papers Working Paper 2017-02, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.
    4. Mühlenkamp, Holger, 2013. "From state to market revisited: more empirical evidence on the efficiency of public (and privately-owned) enterprises," MPRA Paper 47570, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Ángel M. Prieto & José L. Zofío & Inmaculada Álvarez, 2015. "Cost economies, urban patterns and population density: The case of public infrastructure for basic utilities," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(4), pages 795-816, November.
    6. repec:spr:waterr:v:31:y:2017:i:8:d:10.1007_s11269-016-1495-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Carvalho, Pedro & Marques, Rui Cunha, 2014. "Computing economies of vertical integration, economies of scope and economies of scale using partial frontier nonparametric methods," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 234(1), pages 292-307.
    8. Mande Buafua, Patrick, 2015. "Efficiency of urban water supply in Sub-Saharan Africa: Do organization and regulation matter?," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 13-22.
    9. repec:eee:juipol:v:45:y:2017:i:c:p:97-108 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Ruiz-Villaverde, Alberto & Picazo-Tadeo, Andrés J. & González-Gómez, Francisco, 2015. "The ‘social choice’ of privatising urban water services: A case study of Madrid in Spain," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 616-629.
    11. Salvador Bertomeu & Daniel Camos-Daurella & Antonio Estache, 2017. "Do Private Water Utilities Operators Care about Regulatory Agencies in Developing Countries ?," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2017-18, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    12. Holger MAHLENKAMP, 2015. "From State To Market Revisited: A Reassessment Of The Empirical Evidence On The Efficiency Of Public (And Privately-Owned) Enterprises," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(4), pages 535-557, December.
    13. Reynaud, Arnaud & Thomas, Alban, 2013. "Firm's profitability and regulation in water and network industries: An empirical analysis," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 48-58.
    14. Francisco González-Gómez & Miguel García‐Rubio & Francisco Alcalá-Olid & M. Ortega-Díaz, 2013. "Outsourcing and Efficiency in the Management of Rural Water Services," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 27(3), pages 731-747, February.
    15. Ferro, Gustavo & Mercadier, Augusto C., 2016. "Technical efficiency in Chile's water and sanitation providers," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(PA), pages 97-106.
    16. Cruz, Nuno Ferreira da & Carvalho, Pedro & Marques, Rui Cunha, 2013. "Disentangling the cost efficiency of jointly provided water and wastewater services," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 70-77.
    17. Anne-Kathrin Faust & Andrea Baranzini, 2014. "The economic performance of Swiss drinking water utilities," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 383-397, June.
    18. Suárez-Varela, Marta & Martínez-Espiñeira, Roberto & González-Gómez, Francisco, 2015. "An analysis of the price escalation of non-linear water tariffs for domestic uses in Spain," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 82-93.
    19. repec:spr:waterr:v:31:y:2017:i:8:d:10.1007_s11269-016-1346-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Andrea Guerrini & Giulia Romano & Bettina Campedelli, 2013. "Economies of Scale, Scope, and Density in the Italian Water Sector: A Two-Stage Data Envelopment Analysis Approach," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 27(13), pages 4559-4578, October.

    More about this item


    economies of scale; economies of scope; meta-regression analysis; water utilities;

    JEL classification:

    • L95 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Gas Utilities; Pipelines; Water Utilities
    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General

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