Regulatory Reform and Economic Performance in US Electricity Generation
In this paper we investigate the effect of the introduction of incentive regulation upon the total factor productivity (TFP) growth of electricity generation companies in the United States, using sample data on 61 firms observed over a 13-year period from 1986 to 1998. Empirical estimates of TFP growth are obtained using three techniques: Tornqvist index numbers, a stochastic cost frontier and a stochastic input distance function. The results obtained using the stochastic cost frontier are discarded because they are found to differ from those obtained using the other techniques, apparently as a consequence of violations of the required cost minimizing behavioral assumptions, which are not uncommon in regulated industries. Tests of hypotheses regarding the effect of regulatory reform upon TFP (using the distance function results) indicate that the introduction of incentive regulation has not had the desired positive effect upon the economic performance of the firms involved. In fact, in the case of these data, we find that performance is negatively related with the introduction of the new regulatory regimes, a result that is the opposite of the theoretical predictions.
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