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Pricing Decisions of Regulated Firms: A Behavioral Approach

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  • Paul L. Joskow

Abstract

Once the prices for utility service are set by state regulatory authorities, they remain at fixed levels until they are officially increased or decreased by the regulatory agency. A utility company is not free to vary the prices of its service independently. This paper presents the results of an attempt to specify and estimate a behavioral model of the pricing decisions of regulated firms. The "threshold" behavior of regulated firms with regard to their decisions to seek general price increases from state regulatory authorities and their decisions to file "voluntary" price decreases is discussed, and two decision equations are specified and then estimated for regulated electric utilities in New York State. The decision to file for a price increase is shown to depend on the growth rate of earnings per share achieved by the firm in the current and previous year, on the level of interest coverage realized in the current year, and on a variable which measures prior expectations of success in the hearing room. The decision to file a voluntary price decrease is shown to depend on the growth rate in earnings per share and a variable which measures the expectations of "forced" regulation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal Bell Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (1973)
Issue (Month): 1 (Spring)
Pages: 118-140

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Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:4:y:1973:i:spring:p:118-140

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Cited by:
  1. Graeme Guthrie, 2006. "Regulating Infrastructure: The Impact on Risk and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(4), pages 925-972, December.
  2. Pérez Montes, Carlos, 2013. "Regulatory bias in the price structure of local telephone service," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 462-476.
  3. Mirucki, Jean, 1980. "Vérification des conditions d'efficacité dans la production chez Bell Canada
    [Checking the conditions of efficient production in Bell Canada]
    ," MPRA Paper 30147, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jun 1980.
  4. Mirucki, Jean, 1980. "Comportement de l'entreprise réglementée: étude de l'hypothèse Averch-Johnson
    [Behavior of the Regulated Firm: A Study of the Averch-Johnson Hypothesis]
    ," MPRA Paper 27669, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 1982.

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