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American Economic Review: Vol. 92 No. 5 (December 2002)

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Measuring Market Inefficiencies in California's Restructured Wholesale Electricity Market

Article Citation

Borenstein, Severin, James B. Bushnell, and Frank A. Wolak. 2002. "Measuring Market Inefficiencies in California's Restructured Wholesale Electricity Market ." American Economic Review, 92(5): 1376-1405.

DOI: 10.1257/000282802762024557

Abstract

We present a method for decomposing wholesale electricity payments into production costs, inframarginal competitive rents, and payments resulting from the exercise of market power. Using data from June 1998 to October 2000 in California, we find significant departures from competitive pricing during the high-demand summer months and near-competitive pricing during the lower-demand months of the first two years. In summer 2000, wholesale electricity expenditures were $8.98 billion up from $2.04 billion in summer 1999. We find that 21 percent of this increase was due to production costs, 20 percent to competitive rents, and 59 percent to market power.

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Authors

Borenstein, Severin
Bushnell, James B.
Wolak, Frank A.


American Economic Review


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