Abstract

In my recent experimental research of wholesale electricity auctions, I discovered that the complex structure of the offers leaves a lot of room for strategic behavior, which consequently leads to anti- competitive and inefficient outcomes in the market. A specific feature of these complex-offer auctions is that the sellers submit not only the quantities and the minimum prices at which they are willing to sell, but also the start-up fees that are designed to reimburse the fixed start-up costs of the generation plants. In this paper, using the experimental method I compare the performance of two complex-offer auctions (COAs) against the performance of a simple-offer auction (SOA), in which the sellers have to recover all their generation costs --- fixed and variable ---through a uniform market-clearing price. I find that the SOA significantly reduces consumer prices and lowers price volatility. It mitigates anti-competitive effects that are present in the COAs and achieves allocative efficiency more quickly.



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