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Investment under uncertainty with price ceilings in oligopolies

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  • Roques, Fabien A.
  • Savva, Nicos

Abstract

We study the impact of price cap regulation on the level and timing of investment in an oligopolistic (Cournot) industry facing stochastic demand. We find that a price ceiling affects investment decisions in two mutually competing ways: it makes the option to defer investment more valuable, but at the same time it reduces the incentive for firms to strategically underinvest in order to raise prices. We show that while sensible price cap regulation speeds up investment, a low price cap can be a disincentive for investment. There exists an optimal price cap independent of market concentration - the competitive investment price trigger - that maximizes investment incentives and in the long term increases industry installed capacity. This optimal price cap becomes less effective and less robust as the market becomes more competitive and as demand volatility increases. Errors in estimation of the optimal price cap have asymmetric effects: underestimation has more dire consequences than overestimation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Volume (Year): 33 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 507-524

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Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:33:y:2009:i:2:p:507-524

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jedc

Related research

Keywords: Real options Stochastic games Price cap regulation Demand uncertainty Utility industries;

References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Zwart, G. & Broer, D.P., 2012. "Optimal Regulation of Lumpy Investments," Discussion Paper 2012-020, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
  2. Chronopoulos, Michail & De Reyck, Bert & Siddiqui, Afzal, 2014. "Duopolistic competition under risk aversion and uncertainty," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 236(2), pages 643-656.
  3. Jacco J.J. Thijssen, . "Equilibria in Continuous Time Preemption Games with Markovian Payoffs," Discussion Papers 11/17, Department of Economics, University of York.
  4. A. Lemus & Diego Moreno, 2013. "Price cap regulation with capacity withholding," Economics Working Papers we1309, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  5. A. Mantovi, 2009. "Long run value stabilization in a real options perspective," Economics Department Working Papers 2009-EP01, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
  6. Carlo Cambini & Laura Rondi, 2010. "Incentive regulation and investment: evidence from European energy utilities," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 1-26, August.
  7. Léautier, Thomas-Olivier, 2014. "The "demand side" effect of price caps: uncertainty, imperfect competition, and ration," TSE Working Papers 14-460, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  8. Rahmatallah Poudineh & Tooraj Jamasb, 2013. "Investment and Efficiency under Incentive Regulation: The Case of the Norwegian Electricity Distribution Networks," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1310, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  9. Léautier, Thomas-Olivier, 2014. "The "demand side" effect of price caps: uncertainty, imperfect competition, and rationing," IDEI Working Papers 815, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  10. Ingo Vogelsang, 2010. "Incentive Regulation, Investments and Technological Change," CESifo Working Paper Series 2964, CESifo Group Munich.

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