This paper aims to analyse the impact of regulation in the financial performance of the Water and Sewerage companies (WaSCs) in England and Wales over the period 1991–2008. In doing so, a panel index approach is applied across WaSCs over time to decompose unit-specific index number-based profitability growth as a function of the profitability, productivity and price performance growth achieved by benchmark firms, and the catch up to the benchmark firm achieved by less productive firms. The results indicated that after 2000 there is a steady decline in average price performance, while productivity improves resulting in a relatively stable economic profitability. It is suggested that the English and Welsh water regulator is now more focused on passing productivity benefits to consumers, and maintaining stable profitability than it was in earlier regulatory periods. This technique is of great interest for regulators to evaluate the effectiveness of regulation and companies to identify the determinants of profit change and improve future performance, even if sample sizes are limited.
Bibliographical noteThe final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10098-014-0852-2
Funding: Economic and Social Science Research Council; Office of Water Services (Ofwat); and Generalitat Valenciana (APOSTD/2013/110)
- panel index numbers
- price performance
- profit decomposition
- total factor productivity
- water and sewerage industry