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Ownership Unbundling of Gas Transmission Networks - Empirical Evidence

Christian Growitsch () and Marcus Stronzik ()
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Marcus Stronzik: Energiewirtschaftliches Institut an der Universitaet zu Koeln

No 2011-7, EWI Working Papers from Energiewirtschaftliches Institut an der Universitaet zu Koeln (EWI)

Abstract: The European Commission has intensively discussed the mandatory separation of natural gas transmission from production and services. However, economic theory is ambiguous on the price effects of vertical separation. In this paper, we empirically analyse the effect of ownership unbundling of gas transmission networks as the strongest form of vertical separation on the level of end-user prices. Therefore, we apply different dynamic estimators as system GMM and the bias-corrected least-squares dummy variable or LSDVC estimator on an unbalanced panel out of 18 EU countries over 19 years, allowing us to avoid the endogeneity problem and to estimate the long-run effects of regulation. We introduce a set of regulatory indicators as market entry regulation, ownership structure, vertical separation and market structure and account for structural and economic country specifics. Among these different estimators, we consistently find that ownership unbundling has no impact on natural gas end-user prices, while the more modest legal unbundling reduces them significantly. Furthermore, third-party access, market structure and privatisation show significant influence with the latter leading to higher price levels.

Keywords: Natural gas; Networks; Regulation; Ownership unbundling; Panel data (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C23 L43 L94 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-com, nep-cwa, nep-ene, nep-eur, nep-net and nep-reg
Date: 2011-07-20
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