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Good Regulatory Lags for Price Cap and Rolling Cap contracts

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  • Jose Luis Lima R
  • Andres Gomez Lobo

Abstract

Price caps are a popular form of monopoly price regulation. One of its disadvantages is the perverse incentives that regulated firms might have to scamp on cost reducing effort during the last years before a price review. In order to avoid this problem a “rolling cap†contract was introduced in the United Kingdom that overcomes this last problem. In spite of their popularity, there is scant research on the optimal regulatory lag (number of years between price reviews) of a price cap or rolling cap contract. In practice, around the world most price cap or rolling cap contracts have a lag of 4 to 5 years, but this is not based on any optimality consideration. As is well known, the regulatory lag determines the power of an incentive contract and thus the incentives to undertake cost reducing effort. Schmalensee (1989) studied the optimal power of regulatory contracts in a static model with uncertainty and asymmetric information. She finds that medium powered contracts are generally superior to the polar cases of high or low powered contracts. In this paper, we extend Schmalensee (1989) model used to study the optimal power of regulatory contracts to a dynamic framework. We use numerical simulation to study the optimal regulatory lag for different combinations of demand and cost parameters under a particular linear quadratic structure. We find that in general a 2 year lag is optimal under both a price cap and rolling cap contracts and that a benevolent regulator prefers the rolling cap over the price cap contract in almost all the cases

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File URL: http://repec.org/esLATM04/up.22851.1082071058.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings with number 278.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:latm04:278

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Keywords: Price Cap; Rolling Cap; Regulatory Lag; Dynamic Programming;

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  1. Clemenz, Gerhard, 1991. "Optimal Price-Cap Regulation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(4), pages 391-408, June.
  2. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 1993. "Recursive linear models of dynamic economies," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  3. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-41, June.
  4. Gasmi, Farid & Ivaldi, Marc & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1992. "Rent Extraction and Incentives for Efficiency in Recent Regulatory Proposals," IDEI Working Papers 21, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  5. Álvaro Busto & Alexander Galetovic, 2001. "Regulación por empresa eficiente: ¿quién es realmente usted?," Documentos de Trabajo 106, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  6. Tauchen, George & Hussey, Robert, 1991. "Quadrature-Based Methods for Obtaining Approximate Solutions to Nonlinear Asset Pricing Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 371-96, March.
  7. Colin Mayer & John Vickers, 1996. "Profit-sharing regulation: an economic appraisal," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 17(1), pages 1-18, February.
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