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Regulatory Independence and Political Interference: Evidence from EU Mixed-Ownership Utilities’ Investment and Debt

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  • Carlo Cambini

    (Politecnico di Torino, IMT Lucca and FEEM)

  • Laura Rondi

    (Politecnico di Torino and FEEM)

Abstract

This paper examines the investment and financial decisions of a sample of 92 EU regulated utilities, taking into account key institutional features of EU public utilities, such as: a) regulation by agencies with various degrees of independence; b) partial ownership of the state in the regulated firm; and c) the government’s political orientation, which may ultimately influence the regulatory climate to be either more pro-firm or more pro-consumers. Our results show that regulatory independence matters for both investment and financial decisions. Investment increases under an Independent Regulatory Agency (IRA), while ownership has no effect. Leverage also increases when the IRA is in place, especially so if the regulated firm is privately controlled. Finally political orientation does matter, as firm investment increases under more conservative (pro-firm) governments, but this effect appears to revert when the IRA is in place.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2010.69.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2010.69

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Keywords: Regulated Utilities; Investment; Capital Structure; Private and State Ownership; Regulatory Independence; overnment’s Political Orientation;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ornella Tarola & Sandro Trento, 2010. "Timing of Investment and Dynamic Pricing in Privatized Sectors," DISA Working Papers 1005, Department of Computer and Management Sciences, University of Trento, Italy, revised 20 Oct 2010.
  2. Pablo T. Spiller, 2011. "Transaction Cost Regulation," NBER Working Papers 16735, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joanne Evans & Paul Levine & Neil Rickman & Francesc Trillas, 2011. "Delegation to Independent Regulators and the Ratchet Effect," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0911, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  4. Magnus Söderberg & Makoto Tanaka, 2012. "Spatial price homogeneity as a mechanism to reduce the threat of regulatory intervention in locally monopolistic sectors," Working Papers hal-00659458, HAL.

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