Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Supply Function Equilibria with Capacity Constraints and Pivotal Suppliers

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Talat S. Genc (Department of Economics,University of Guelph) and Stanley S. Reynolds (Department of Economics,University of Arizona) discuss Supply Function Equilibria with Capacity Constraints and Pivotal Suppliers.

ABSTRACT: The concept of a supply function equilibrium (SFE) has been widely used to model generators’ bidding behavior and market power issues in wholesale electricity markets. Observers of electricity markets have noted how generation capacity constraints may contribute to market power of generation firms. If a generation firm’s rivals are capacity constrained then the firm may be pivotal; that is, the firm could substantially raise the market price by unilaterally withholding output. However the SFE literature has not properly analyzed the impact of capacity constraints and pivotal firms on equilibrium predictions. We characterize the set of symmetric supply function equilibria for uniform price auctions when firms are capacity constrained and show that this set is increasing as capacity per firm rises. We provide conditions under which asymmetric equilibria exist and characterize these equilibria. In addition, we compare results for uniform price auctions to those for discriminatory auctions, and we compare our SFE predictions to equilibrium predictions of models in which bidders are constrained to bid on discrete units of output.

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