nep-reg New Economics Papers
on Regulation
Issue of 2017‒02‒05
twelve papers chosen by
Natalia Fabra
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

  1. Do Energy Efficiency Standards Hurt Consumers? Evidence from Household Appliance Sales By Arlan Brucal; Michael Roberts
  2. Competition and Regulation as a Means of Reducing CO² Emissions: Experience from U.S. Fossil Fuel Power Plants By Growitsch, Christian; Paulus, Simon; Wetzel, Heike
  3. Cost-effectiveness and incidence of renewable energy promotion in Germany By Böhringer, Christoph; Landis, Florian; Tovar Reaños, Miguel Angel
  4. Political Determinants of Competition in the Mobile Telecommunication Industry By Faccio, Mara; Zingales, Luigi
  5. Heterogeneity in Brand Effects on Farm-Retail Price Transmission: Evidence from Private Labels and Branded Products in Fluid Milk Market By Liu, Yizao; Rabinowitz, Adam; Xuan, Chen
  6. Divesting Fossil Fuels: The Implications for Investment Portfolios By Trinks, Arjan; Scholtens, Bert; Mulder, Machiel; Dam, Lammertjan
  7. Consequences of the Clean Water Act and the Demand for Water Quality By David A. Keiser; Joseph S. Shapiro
  8. Location, location, location. What accounts for regional variation of fuel poverty in Poland? By Maciej Lis; Agata Miazga; Katarzyna Salach
  9. Effective marketing of mobile telecom services through brand personality: Empirical evidence from Greece By Niros, Meletios; Pollalis, Yannis; Niros, Angelica
  10. Valuing Water Supply Reliability with Sensitivity Analysis By Buck, Steven; Nemati, Mehdi
  11. Competition and Hospital Quality: Evidence from a French Natural Experiment By Gobillon, Laurent; Milcent, Carine
  12. The Swedish congestion charges: ten years on: - and effects of increasing charging levels By Börjesson , Maria; Kristoffersson, Ida

  1. By: Arlan Brucal (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii); Michael Roberts (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii)
    Abstract: Since 1987, the Department of Energy has set minimum energy efficiency standards for household appliances. Although the review process considers engineering-based accounting of costs and benefits associated with standards, economists have questioned whether these policies hurt consumers by increasing prices and limiting the scope and nature of product attributes, thereby reducing consumers’ perceptions of product quality. To evaluate whether standard changes affect prices and quality, we develop a constant-quality price index using same-model price changes of appliances sold in the United States between 2001 and 2011, a period over which energy-efficiency standards changed three times for clothes washers and Energy Star thresholds were updated for refrigerators. We use this index to disentangle price changes from perceived quality changes, and develop a welfare index that accounts for both prices and quality changes over time. We then examine how price, quality and welfare changed as energy-efficiency standards became progressively more stringent. We find no indication that more stringent standards increased prices or reduced product quality. Instead, we find prices declined while quality and consumer welfare increased, especially around times when more stringent energy efficiency standards were enforced. Similar price and quality patterns emerge for refrigerators which had only Energy Star R policy changes. We conclude that standards have had at worst a negligible effect on consumer welfare, or at best lowered prices and improved quality for both washers and refrigerators, and perhaps other appliances. Further analysis suggests that standards induce innovation, but have little or no influence on inter-manufacturer competition.
    Keywords: Energy Efficiency Standards, Imperfect Competition, Price Indices
    JEL: D12 H23 L68 Q48
    Date: 2016–12
  2. By: Growitsch, Christian (Universitaet Hamburg); Paulus, Simon (Energiewirtschaftliches Institut an der Universitaet zu Koeln (EWI)); Wetzel, Heike (Universitaet Kassel)
    Abstract: Levels of CO2 emissions from electricity generation in the U.S. have changed considerably in the last decade. This development can be attributed to two factors. First, the shale gas revolution has reduced gas prices significantly, leading to a crowding out of the more CO2-intensive coal for electricity generation. Secondly, environmental regulations have been tightened at both the federal and the state level. In this article, we analyze the relative CO2 emission performance across 48 states in the U.S. using a two-stage empirical approach. In the first stage, we identify the states that followed best practice between 2000 and 2013, by applying nonparametric benchmarking techniques. In the second stage, we regress our CO2 emission performance indicators on the state-specific national gas prices, the states’ CO2 regulatory policies and a number of other state-specific factors in order to identify the main drivers of the developments. We find that the CO2 emission performance improved on average by 15% across all states from 2000 to 2013. Furthermore, our second-stage results support the argument that decreasing natural gas prices and stringent regulatory measures, such as cap-and-trade programs, have a positive impact on the state-specific CO2 emission performance.
    Keywords: Carbon Dioxide Emission Performance; Data Envelopment Analysis; Global Malmquist Index; Environmental Regulation
    JEL: C61 D24 L94 Q58
    Date: 2017–01–29
  3. By: Böhringer, Christoph; Landis, Florian; Tovar Reaños, Miguel Angel
    Abstract: Over the last decade Germany has boosted renewable energy in power production by means of massive subsidies. The flip side are very high electricity prices which raises concerns that the transition cost towards a renewable energy system will be mainly borne by poor households. In this paper, we combine computable general equilibrium and microsimulation analysis to investigate the cost-effectiveness and incidence of Germany's renewable energy promotion. We find that the regressive effects of renewable energy promotion could be ameliorated by alternative subsidy financing mechanisms which achieve the same level of electricity generation from renewable energy sources.
    Keywords: renewable energy policy,feed-in tariffs,CGE,microsimulation
    JEL: Q42 H23 C63
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Faccio, Mara; Zingales, Luigi
    Abstract: We study how political factors shape competition in the mobile telecommunication sector. We show that the way a government designs the rules of the game has an impact on concentration, competition, and prices. Pro-competition regulation reduces prices, but does not hurt quality of services or investments. More democratic governments tend to design more competitive rules, while more politically connected operators are able to distort the rules in their favor, restricting competition. Government intervention has large redistributive effects: U.S. consumers would gain $65bn a year if U.S. mobile service prices were in line with German ones and $44bn if they were in line with Danish ones.
    Keywords: Antitrust; capture; political economy
    JEL: D72 L11 P16
    Date: 2017–01
  5. By: Liu, Yizao; Rabinowitz, Adam; Xuan, Chen
    Abstract: The asymmetric farm-retail transmission has been well documented in the general fluid milk market. However, little attention has been given to the possible heterogeneous cost pass-through process of private labels. Given the leading role of private labels in the fluid milk market, it is of special interest to focus on its possible different effect on farm-retail price transmission. In this paper, we examine the heterogeneous effects of private label and branded products on price transmission in the fluid milk market. We incorporate and extend the Error Correction Model (ECM) approach to specify and estimate the farm-retail pass-through using panel data. To capture the heterogeneous effects of brand types on price transmission, we include interaction terms of brand type dummies with increasing and decreasing phases of farm price and then test the asymmetry in farm-retail pass-through for different brand types. Our results indicate that private label and branded milk all show asymmetry in price transmission. However, brand types affect the magnitudes of the asymmetry and private label milk presents the lowest asymmetry in price transmission, compared with national and regional branded milk. One possible explanation is that retail chains have a greater ability to affect prices of their own private label products through integrated distribution channels and thus impose a strong lessening power of the asymmetry in farm-retail price transmission.
    Keywords: price transmission, cost pass-through, retail pricing, private label, Agribusiness, Demand and Price Analysis,
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Trinks, Arjan; Scholtens, Bert; Mulder, Machiel; Dam, Lammertjan
    Abstract: Fossil fuel divestment campaigns urge investors to sell their stakes in companies that supply coal, oil, and gas. However, avoiding investments in such companies can be expected to impose a financial cost on the investor because of reduced opportunities for portfolio diversification. We compare the risk-adjusted return performance of investment portfolios with and without fossil fuel companies over the period 1927-2015. Contrary to theoretical expectations, we find that fossil-free investing does not seem to impair financial performance. These findings can be explained by the fact that fossil fuel company portfolios do not generate above-market performance and provide relatively limited diversification benefits. Significant performance impacts of a divestment strategy, however, are observed over short time frames and when applying divestment to less diversified investment portfolios.
    Keywords: Fossil Fuel Divestment, Socially Responsible Investing, Portfolio Performance, Risk-adjusted returns, Market Capitalization, GARCH
    JEL: G11 Q41
    Date: 2017–01–16
  7. By: David A. Keiser; Joseph S. Shapiro
    Abstract: Since the 1972 U.S. Clean Water Act, government and industry have invested over $1 trillion to abate water pollution, or $100 per person-year. Over half of U.S. stream and river miles, however, still violate pollution standards. We use the most comprehensive set of files ever compiled on water pollution and its determinants, including 50 million pollution readings from 170,000 monitoring sites, to study water pollution's trends, causes, and welfare consequences. We have three main findings. First, water pollution concentrations have fallen substantially since 1972, though were declining at faster rates before then. Second, the Clean Water Act's grants to municipal wastewater treatment plants caused some of these declines. Third, the grants' estimated effects on housing values are generally smaller than the grants' costs.
    JEL: H23 H54 H70 Q50 R31
    Date: 2017–01
  8. By: Maciej Lis; Agata Miazga; Katarzyna Salach
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to explain the regional variation of fuel poverty in Poland. The significant spatial variation of fuel poverty stems from differences in the buildings’ characteristics, income and household composition as well as the diverse advancement of urbanisation processes. The variance analysis permit the conclusion that all these factors influence both energy affordability (LIHC) and thermal comfort (subjective) dimension of fuel poverty. Energy affordability depends mainly on household’s income, whereas lack of thermal comfort is mainly due to low energy efficiency of a building. Even after factoring out the influence of these three factors there still remains a significant unexplained regional variation of lack of thermal comfort. We show that this unexplained variation is linked with the regional disparities of prices and outdoor temperatures.
    Keywords: fuel poverty, LIHC, thermal comfort, energy affordability, regional variation, degrees of urbanisation
    JEL: I32 Q40 R29
    Date: 2016–11
  9. By: Niros, Meletios; Pollalis, Yannis; Niros, Angelica
    Abstract: The purpose of this research is to explore any relationship between brand personality and brand image in mobile telecom branded offerings. Furthermore, this paper explores brand image as an antecedent of both perceived quality and consumer behavior. A survey conducted using a “positivism” approach, in which 318 consumers participated through a face to face handing over. Sincerity, competence and sophistication proved to be dominant precursors of brand image. On the other hand, brand image suggests a basic aspect of perceived quality in intangible telecom branded offerings. Moreover, customer satisfaction concerns a mediating factor impacting the relationship between perceived quality and brand attachment. Thus, perceived quality does not guarantee brand attachment and customer satisfaction is the key to achieve that. Hence, fair pricing, low service access costs and consistent IMC are necessary tactics to build brand attachment. The latter, along with customer inertia lead to favorable WoM and customer loyalty. This project provides telecom brand managers with valuable know-how in order to design “out of the box” strategies and tactics.
    Keywords: Marketing & Advertising, Marketing, Consumer Behaviour, brand
    JEL: M31
    Date: 2017–01–30
  10. By: Buck, Steven; Nemati, Mehdi
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to calculate the expected reliability benefits of alternative water supplies that are less vulnerable to disruption than the current composition of supplies, especially those regions which rely on imported surface water. Expected reliability benefits are measured using estimates of welfare losses under various levels of supply disruption, the probability of each level disruption, and on consumption forecasts over the life of proposed alternative supplies. TO consider uncertainty in reliability benefits, we run sensitivity analyses to value reliability under different discount rates, the elasticities of demand, water supply disruption levels, and corresponding probability distributions of disruption.
    Keywords: urban water, economics of infrastructure, reliability, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Environmental Economics and Policy, Public Economics, Resource /Energy Economics and Policy,
    Date: 2017
  11. By: Gobillon, Laurent (Paris School of Economics); Milcent, Carine (Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: We evaluate the effect of a pro-competition reform gradually introduced in France over the 2004-2008 period on hospital quality measured with the mortality of heart-attack patients. Our analysis distinguishes between hospitals depending on their status: public (university or non-teaching), non-profit or for-profit. These hospitals differ in their degree of managerial and financial autonomy as well as their reimbursement systems and incentives for competition before the reform, but they are all under a DRG-based payment system after the reform. For each hospital status, we assess the benefits of local competition in terms of decrease in mortality after the reform. We estimate a duration model for mortality stratified at the hospital level to take into account hospital unobserved heterogeneity and censorship in the duration of stays in a flexible way. Estimations are conducted using an exhaustive dataset at the patient level over the 1999-2011 period. We find that non-profit hospitals, which have managerial autonomy and no incentive for competition before the reform, enjoyed larger declines in mortality in places where there is greater competition than in less competitive markets.
    Keywords: competition, hospital ownership, policy evaluation, heart attack
    JEL: I11 I18
    Date: 2017–01
  12. By: Börjesson , Maria (KTH); Kristoffersson, Ida (VTI)
    Abstract: This paper explores the effects of the Swedish congestion charges 10 years on. We find that the price elasticity of the traffic across the cordon was lower when the charging levels were increased than when they were first introduced, in Stockholm and in Gothenburg. The price elasticity was also lower when the Stockholm system was extended to include the Essinge bypass (E4/E20). The implication of these results is that adjustments in charging levels between days and seasons would have a limited effect on traffic volume. Moreover, the elasticity is substantially higher in the off-peak period than in the peak. A third finding is that the long-term elasticity is declining in Gothenburg but increasing in Stockholm. Public support is also declining in Gothenburg but increasing in Stockholm. The operating costs of the systems have declined.
    Keywords: Congestion charges; Behavioural adaptation; Time-dependent cordon; Tolling system; Traffic effects; Public support; Transferability; System design
    JEL: R41 R42 R48
    Date: 2017–01–30

This nep-reg issue is ©2017 by Natalia Fabra. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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