The restructuring of the U.S. electric power industry has been described as “one of the largest single industrial reorganizations in the history of the world.” As with deregulation and reform of other industries, electricity restructuring was intended to produce cost efficiencies and price benefits to consumers. Whether it has achieved its stated objective is the focus of a number of recent studies that are examined in this review. The studies differ in numerous important ways – most importantly, in their methodologies and their conclusions. The focus of this review is on the strengths and limitations of their specific methodologies and, hence, on the confidence one might place in their conclusions. The article begins by setting out the basic methodological approaches employed in public policy evaluation. It then illustrates these points with examples from methodologies employed in several studies of electricity restructuring, concluding that several methodological deficiencies call into question the study results. In particular, despite much advocacy, there is little reliable and convincing evidence that consumers are better off as a result of the restructuring of the U.S. electric power industry.
Review of Industrial Organization – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 25, 2008
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