- The political economy of (de)regulation: Theory and evidence from the U.S. electricity market
- Number of pages
- Amsterdam: Amsterdam Center for Law & Economics
- ACLE working paper
- Volume | Edition (Serie)
- Document type
- Interfacultary Research Institutes
Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam Center for Law & Economics (ACLE)
Amsterdam School of Economics Research Institute (ASE-RI)
Amsterdam Business School Research Institute (ABS-RI)
The decision to introduce competition into regulated industries is a key issue in economics. Provided that the demand is sufficiently inelastic, competition assures lower allocative distortions at the cost of weaker cost-reducing investment incentives via lower profits. Hence, deregulation is more likely where the extent of asymmetric information under regulation is more limited, cost reduction less socially salient and the political power of consumers stronger. This prediction is consistent with U.S. electricity market data. During the 1990s, restructuring was enacted where generation costs were historically lower and politicians had weaker pro-shareholder attitudes. Also, instrumental variables estimates show that restructuring has delivered medium-term cost-reductions greater than that documented by previous studies.
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