Liberalisation of the Austrian Energy Market: An Evaluation from a Macroeconomic Point of View
The steps taken in 1999-2003 to liberalise the electricity and gas market produced perceptible price reductions, not least due to a change in the pricing behaviour of providers. At the same time, new regulations (introducing of surcharges to the electricity price in order to promote small-scale hydropower, renewable power and combined heat and power generation, as well as an increase of the energy tax levied on electrical power and natural gas) drove up prices. The effects of liberalisation nevertheless compensate not just for the higher prices due to regulations but also for all price increases caused by the introduction of surcharges and taxes prior to 1999. Altogether, liberalisation provided for the GDP to grow by 0.3 percent between 1999 and 2003 (compared to a scenario with no liberalisation of the energy market). The impact on employment was much weaker (+0.2 percent) since increased productivity in the energy sector dampened demand for labour.
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