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Enhancing the Efficiency of Water Supply - Product Market Competition Versus Trade


Foellmi, Reto; Meister, Urs (2011). Enhancing the Efficiency of Water Supply - Product Market Competition Versus Trade. Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, 12(3):299-324.

Abstract

In most developed countries, the provision of water is organized at a local level. The costs and tariffs vary significantly, even between adjacent water utilities. Such heterogeneity is an obvious indication of the sector’s overall inefficiency and stresses a need for institutional adjustments. We show that cooperation by water trade and the introduction of competition by common carriage between adjacent utilities are valuable alternatives to improve the industry’s efficiency, even when mergers are not feasible. Because both approaches require the physical connection of neighboring networks, they may have similar effects. This paper analyzes and compares the relevant welfare gains and shows that production efficiency and retail prices may differ depending on the initial cost differential, the application of regulations and the distribution of bargaining power. Using a theoretical model, we show that at higher initial production cost differentials, welfare is higher under competitive conditions, even in a lower-bound benchmark case without any regulation.

Abstract

In most developed countries, the provision of water is organized at a local level. The costs and tariffs vary significantly, even between adjacent water utilities. Such heterogeneity is an obvious indication of the sector’s overall inefficiency and stresses a need for institutional adjustments. We show that cooperation by water trade and the introduction of competition by common carriage between adjacent utilities are valuable alternatives to improve the industry’s efficiency, even when mergers are not feasible. Because both approaches require the physical connection of neighboring networks, they may have similar effects. This paper analyzes and compares the relevant welfare gains and shows that production efficiency and retail prices may differ depending on the initial cost differential, the application of regulations and the distribution of bargaining power. Using a theoretical model, we show that at higher initial production cost differentials, welfare is higher under competitive conditions, even in a lower-bound benchmark case without any regulation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:25 Sep 2019 13:38
Last Modified:26 Sep 2019 07:38
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1566-1679
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10842-011-0100-y
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:3998

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