Publications

    Steffes, James. “Mixed Signals.” In, 2016.Abstract
    Steffes, James. Mixed Signals." Presentation to the Harvard Electricity Policy Group's 83rd Plenary Session. Cambridge, MA, June 2, 2016."
    Alliance, The New England Energy. “A Review of Electricity Industry Restructuring in New England.” In, 2006.Abstract

    Excerpt from the Introduction:

     

    The New England states were among the first in the nation to restructure wholesale and retail electricity markets beginning in the late 1990s. In large part, the action was prompted by the burden of having the highest electricity costs in the country, which created hardships for residential consumers and handicapped many businesses from competing on a “level playing field” with companies located outside the region.2 Restructuring required most electric utilities to: sell their generating plants, allow consumers to choose among electricity suppliers and procure electricity for those consumers not choosing an electricity supplier – while remaining regulated and responsible for local distribution service. Wholesale restructuring involved creating a fair and reliable market for competition in generating electricity while ensuring equal access to transmission grids. Once established, the wholesale market caused electricity to become a commodity with prices set not by regulators, but by market rules and the balance between supply and demand.

    Shanefelter, Jennifer Kaiser. “Restructuring, Ownership and Efficiency: The Case of Labor in Electricity Generation.” In, 2006. Publisher's VersionAbstract
    This analysis considers improvements in productive efficiency that can result from a movement from a regulated framework to one that allows for market-based incentives for industry participants. Specifically, I look at the case of restructuring in the electricity generation industry. As numerous industries and economies have undergone this sort of transition to varying degrees, it is instructive to assess the performance of market-based incentives relative to what was observed under tighter regulation. Using data from the electricity industry, this analysis considers the total effect of restructuring on one input to the production process – labor – as reflected in employment levels, payroll per employee and aggregate establishment payroll. Using concurrent payroll and employment data from non-utility ("merchant") and utility generators in both restructured and nonrestructured states, I estimate the effect of market liberalization, comprising both new entry and state-level legislation, on employment and payroll in this industry. I find that merchant owners of divested generation assets employ significantly fewer people, but that the payroll per employee is not significantly different from what workers at utility-owned plants are paid. As a result, the new merchant owners of these plants have significantly lower aggregate payroll expenses. Decomposing the effect into a merchant effect and a divestiture effect, I find that merchant ownership is the primary driver of these results.

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