Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University


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Political Economy of Electricity Reform

Platform
Ongoing research

This former research platform examined the interaction of the political, legal and economic forces that affect how countries restructure their electricity systems away from SOE-domination and toward greater use of markets to allocate resources.

The Program sponsored a comparison of the political economy of power market restructuring in five major developing countries: Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa. PESD held its first conference on the Political Economy of Power Market Reform at IIS on 19-20 February 2003. Close to ninety of the top minds in the field attended.

One output of the comparison of the five major developing countries' power market reforms is a book titled "The Political Economy of Power Sector Reform: The Experiences of Five Major Developing Countries."  This book evaluates the experiences of five of those countries - Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa - as they have shifted from state-dominated systems to schemes allowing for a larger private sector role. As well as having the largest power systems in their regions and among the most rapidly rising consumption of electricity in the world, these countries are the locus of massive financial investment and the effects of their power systems are increasingly felt in world fuel markets. In-depth case studies also reveal important variations in reform efforts. This accessible volume explains the origins of these reform efforts and offers a theory as to why - despite diverse backgrounds - reform efforts in all five countries have stalled in similar ways.

In addition, the Program conducted a joint study on the role of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the restructuring of power markets with the Bechtel Initiative for Global Growth and Change (BIGGC).

The Program also participated in in-depth studies on power market reform in China and India. In China the Program sponsored studies on scenarios for power market reform in Shanghai and Guangdong provinces. In India the Program worked with the India Institute of Management in Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on a USAID-funded study that examines the impact of market restructuring on the efficiency and dispatch of power plants in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

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