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The Market for Capital and the Origins of State Regulation of Electric Utilities in the United States

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  • Hausman, William J.
  • Neufeld, John L.

Abstract

We provide evidence that the problem of raising capital in the early days of the U.S. electric-utility industry motivated industry leaders to embrace state rate-of-return regulation in return for a secure territorial monopoly. Utility executives anticipated that this would lead to a reduction in borrowing costs. Using firm-level bond data for 1910 1919, we estimate a model and find that state regulation led to lower borrowing costs but that the magnitude of the reduction was small. We also find evidence that output of electric utilities in states with regulation was higher than output in states without regulation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 62 (2002)
Issue (Month): 04 (December)
Pages: 1050-1073

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:62:y:2002:i:04:p:1050-1073_00

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Cited by:
  1. Gray, Rowena, 2013. "Taking technology to task: The skill content of technological change in early twentieth century United States," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 351-367.
  2. Thomas Lyon & Nathan Wilson, 2012. "Capture or contract? The early years of electric utility regulation," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 225-241, December.

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