The "State" of Universal Service
AbstractThe introduction of competition forces regulators to address the historical practice of using of implicit cross subsidies to maintain uniformly low local telephone service rates. The Federal Communications Commission recently adopted rules to remove a portion of these implicit subsidies by adopting an explicit universal service program. This program, however, only addresses a small portion of the problem and leaves to the states problems associated with intrastate cross subsidies. In this paper we examine several alternative universal service programs that states may adopt. Overall, we find that universal service programs that base subsidy dollars on the cost of providing service have little effect on telephone penetration rates and result in large taxes, which distort market outcomes and drive those paying into the system from the network. Large universal service programs also cause competitive distortions. Furthermore, we find that cost-based mechanisms do an equally poor job when we use normative criteria, such as the effect the programs have on the distribution of income.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by United Nations World Employment Programme- in its series Papers with number 99-018.
Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
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Postal: International Center for Economic Growth, 243 Kearny Street, San Francisco, California 94108.
REGULATION ; TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPETITION;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
- H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
- H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General
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- Clarke, George R.G. & Wallsten, Scott J., 2002. "Universal(ly bad) service - providing infrastructure services to rural and poor urban consumers," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2868, The World Bank.
- Calzada, Joan, 2009. "Universal service obligations in the postal sector: The relationship between quality and coverage," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 10-20, February.
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CEPR Discussion Papers
2789, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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- Chattopadhyay, Pradip, 2004. "Cross-subsidy in electricity tariffs: evidence from India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 673-684, March.
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