We study how market deregulation affects the upstream industry both theoretically and empirically. Our theory predicts that firms respond to increases in uncertainty due to deregulation by writing more rigid contracts with their suppliers. Using the restructuring of the U.S. electricity market as our case study, we find support for our theoretical predictions. Our findings imply a greater emphasis on efficiency at coal mines contracting with restructured plants. The evidence suggests a 17% improvement in productivity at these mines, relative to those contracting with regulated plants. We find, on the other hand, that transaction costs may have increased. We conclude that deregulation has significant impacts upstream from deregulated markets.
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