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Regulation and state ownership: conflicts and complementarities in eu telecommunications

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  • Johannes M. Bauer
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    Abstract

    In many countries infrastructure liberalization proceeded faster than the privatization of former state monopolies. Regulatory agencies, established to oversee the transition and safeguard the preconditions for competition, therefore monitor state-owned firms in addition to privately owned firms. The research on public-private firms has generated heterogeneous findings, with some pointing to the advantages and other to the disadvantages of this arrangement. Government regulation of mixed public-private firms raises additional complicated issues, of which the paper studies two using the example of European telecommunications between 2000 and 2004. It examines, first, whether the dual role of the state as owner and regulator could be abused to disadvantage private competitors. Second, it probes whether, conversely, the combination of government ownership and regulation might help overcome some of the shortcomings of the regulation of private firms. We find weak evidence that public and mixed regulated firms were subject to more favourable regulation of interconnection prices. However, this effect weakened as more independent regulation was established. In the area of universal service provision, there is no clear evidence that public and mixed telecommunication service providers were more likely than private ones to be utilized in pursuit of social output goals without explicit compensation. Overall, it seems that the presence of independent regulation, appeals processes, and competition review is a safeguard against capture of the regulator, by public and mixed firms. Copyright CIRIEC, 2005.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Annals of Public & Cooperative Economics.

    Volume (Year): 76 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 2 (06)
    Pages: 151-177

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:annpce:v:76:y:2005:i:2:p:151-177

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    Cited by:
    1. Chang, Eric C. & Wong, Sonia M.L., 2009. "Governance with multiple objectives: Evidence from top executive turnover in China," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 230-244, April.
    2. Bauer, Johannes M. & Shim, Woohyun, 2012. "Regulation and digital innovation: Theory and evidence," 23rd European Regional ITS Conference, Vienna 2012 60364, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    3. Russell Smyth & Magnus Söderberg, 2010. "Public interest versus regulatory capture in the Swedish electricity market," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 292-312, December.

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