Essays on electricity market reforms: a cross-country applied approach
In the last two decades, more than half of the countries in the world have introduced a reform process in their power industries and billions of dollars have been spent on liberalizing electricity markets around the world. This thesis presents a doctoral research concerned with the cross-country empirical analysis of the electricity market reforms. The thesis is in three-paper format; that is, we present three independent but related stand-alone papers. The first paper focuses on the impact of power market reforms on electricity price-cost margins and industrial/residential price ratios. It investigates this issue by looking at the impact of the electricity industry reforms on residential and industrial electricity price-cost margins and their effect on industrial/residential price ratios. Using panel data from 63 developed and developing countries covering the period 1982–2009, empirical models are developed and analysed. The results suggest that each individual reform step has different impact on price-cost margins and industrial/residential price ratios for each consumer and country group. That is to say, our findings imply that similar reform steps may have different impacts in different countries, which supports the idea that reform prescription for a specific country cannot easily be transferred to another one with similar success. The second paper explores whether the question of why some countries are able to implement more extensive reforms is closely related to the question of why some countries have better institutions than others. It analyses this question by using an empirical econometric model based on Poisson regression with cross-section data covering 51 states in US, 13 provinces in Canada and 51 other countries. The study concludes that both the background of the chairperson and the minister/governor and institutional endowments of a country are important determinants of how far reforms have gone in a country. Considering the fact that ideological considerations, political composition of governments and educational/professional background of leaders have played and will play a crucial role throughout the reform process; the third paper attempts to discover the impact of political economic variables on the liberalization process in electricity markets. It develops and analyses empirical models using panel data from 55 developed and developing countries covering the period 1975–2010. The results suggest that a portion of the differences in the reform experiences of reforming countries in the past three decades can be explained by differences in the political structure, in the ideology of the government and in the professional and educational backgrounds of the political leaders.