Over that past three decades, power sector reform has been a key pillar of policy agendas in more than half of the countries across the world. This thesis specifically concerns the empirical investigation of the economic performance of the international electricity generation industry. Drawing on the stochastic frontier analysis techniques, the thesis considers the influence of reform as exogenous factors in shifting frontier technology as well as shaping inefficiency function directly -determinants and heteroscedasticity variables. The first essay uses an extensive panel dataset of 91 countries over the period 1980 to 2010 to measure the impact of deregulation on efficiency and total productivity growth using stochastic input distance frontier (SIDF). Three specific issues are addressed in the first essay: (1) the relationship between deregulation and technical efficiency, (2) the extent of the rank correlation of the country intercepts with deregulation via their position on the frontier, (3) the trend of total factor productivity and its components. We establish a positive impact of deregulation on efficiency and some compelling evidence suggesting that the country intercepts equally account for the influence of deregulation aside efficiency.
In particular, the technical efficiency index from the first paper reveals that most OECD European countries are consistently efficient. Building on this finding, the second essay investigates the performance in term of cost efficiency for electricity generation in OECD power sector while accounting for the impact of electricity market product regulatory indicators. Empirical models are developed for the cost function as a translog form and analysed using panel data of 25 countries during the period 1980 to 2009. We show that it is necessary to model latent country-specific heterogeneity in addition to time-varying inefficiency. The estimated economies of scale are adjusted to take account of the importance of the quasi-fixed capital input in determining cost behaviour, and adjusted economies of scale are verified for the OECD generation sector. The findings suggest there is a significant impact of electricity market regulatory indicators on cost. Cost complementarity between generation and emissions found to be significant, indicating the possibility of reducing emissions without necessarily reducing electricity generation.
Finally, the third essay examines the performance of electric power industry s using consistent state-level electricity generation dataset for the US contiguous states from 1998-2014. We estimate stochastic production frontier for five competing models in order to identify the determinants of technical inefficiency and marginal effects. We find evidence of positive impacts of deregulation on technical efficiency across the models estimated. Our preferred model shows that deregulated states are more efficient in electricity generation than non-deregulated states. The result of the marginal effects shows that deregulation has a positive and monotonic effect on the technical efficiency.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.