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Product-Market Competition in the Water Industry: Voluntarily Nondiscriminatory Pricing

  • Reto Föllmi
  • Urs Meister

This paper presents an attempt to create competition in the water market by means of direct competition. We argue that the usual liberalisation device, competition for the market by franchise bidding, is problematic due to the particular features of the water industry. Our approach proposes the implementation of product market competition, i.e. competition in the market. In such a situation several water utilities using a single set of pipes compete for customers in the same area. Since the water industry is often characterised by local networks, we consider a simple model, where competition is introduced between vertically integrated, neighbouring water suppliers that connect their networks. Even without any regulation, we show that: (i) An inefficient incumbent will give up its monopoly position and lower the access price far enough so that the low-cost competitor can enter his home market. (ii) Efficiency of production will rise due to liberalisation. (iii) In contrary to prejudicial claims, investment incentives are not destroyed by the introduction of competition. Investments of low-cost firms may even increase.

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Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 115.

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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:115
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