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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 4 No. 4 (October 2012)

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Deregulation, Consolidation, and Efficiency: Evidence from US Nuclear Power

Article Citation

Davis, Lucas W., and Catherine Wolfram. 2012. "Deregulation, Consolidation, and Efficiency: Evidence from US Nuclear Power." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 4(4): 194-225.

DOI: 10.1257/app.4.4.194

Abstract

Beginning in the late 1990s, electricity markets in many US states were deregulated, and almost half of the nation's 103 nuclear power reactors were sold to independent power producers. Deregulation has been accompanied by substantial market consolidation, and today the three largest companies control one-third of US nuclear capacity. We find that deregulation and consolidation are associated with a 10 percent increase in operating performance, achieved primarily by reducing the duration of reactor outages. At average wholesale prices, this increased operating performance is worth $2.5 billion annually and implies an annual decrease of 35 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. (JEL L11, L51, L94, L98, Q42, Q48)

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Authors

Davis, Lucas W. (Energy Institute at Haas, U CA, Berkeley)
Wolfram, Catherine (Energy Institute at Haas, U CA, Berkeley)

JEL Classifications

L11: Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
L51: Economics of Regulation
L94: Electric Utilities
L98: Industry Studies: Utilities and Transportation: Government Policy
Q42: Alternative Energy Sources
Q48: Energy: Government Policy

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