Entry and externality: hydroelectric generators in Brazil

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This work analyzes the entry problem in the hydroelectric generation industry. The operation of a generator upstream regularizes the river flow for generators located downstream on the same river, increasing the production capacity of the latter. This positive externality increases the attractiveness of the locations downstream whenever a generator decides to enter upstream. Therefore, the entry decision of a generator in a given location may affect all entry decisions in potential locations for plants downstream. I first model the problem of generators located in cascade on the same river to show the positive effect of the externality. Next, I develop a method to estimate an entry model specific to the hydro generation industry which takes into account the externality of the entry decisions. Finally, I use a data set on investment decisions of Brazilian hydro-generators to estimate the model. The results show a positive incentive to locate downstream from existing plants and from locations where entry is likely to occur. An interesting by-product of the analysis is that the year effects’ estimates show an increase one year before the energy crisis of 2001, providing evidence that the market anticipated the crisis. It contradicts the governmental version that the crisis was due to an unexpected drought.

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