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Journal of Regulatory Economics

Price Mimicking under Cost–of–Service Regulation: The Swedish Water Sector

Scientific Article in English
Reference
Lundin, Erik (2017). “Price Mimicking under Cost–of–Service Regulation: The Swedish Water Sector”. Journal of Regulatory Economics 52(3), 313–332. doi.org/10.1007/s11149-017-9345-7

Author
Erik Lundin

This study provides an empirical test of price mimicking among publicly owned water utilities. Using a fixed effects spatial Durbin model with data from Swedish municipalities during 2002–2012, I estimate the elasticity of the own relative to neighbors’ average price to 0.14. This behavior can be explained in terms of an informal yardstick competition: when consumers use neighboring municipalities’ prices as benchmarks for costs or as behaviorally based reference prices, policy makers will face the risk of consumer complaints and reduced voter support if deviating too much from neighboring municipalities’ prices. Further, I find some evidence that price mimicking is more pronounced in municipalities where voter support for the ruling coalition is weak.

Erik Lundin

+46 (0)70 752 5847
erik.lundin@ifn.se